30 Sep 2014

Most of the USA is Now Multicultural

Large parts of the US are now majority-minority

America’s white population is expected to become a minority in 2043 – if estimates by the US Census Bureau are to be believed -something that has come about due to continuous mass immigration since the first half of the 19th century.

But research and marketing firm EthniFacts claims that future is already alive and kicking today, by virtue of where we live and who we marry, making the country ‘majority-minority’ in many instances.

The Census Bureau defines majority-minority as containing a majority of people who identify themselves in a category other than ‘non-Hispanic White’ alone.

It counts white residents of majority-minority cities and towns such as El Paso in Texas (majority-Hispanic population) or Monterey Park in California (majority-Asian population) as multicultural Americans.

Seven out of the 15 most populous cities in the US are majority-minority – and more will follow suit.

Translation and website localisation is therefore becoming increasingly important for brands that want to remain competitive and increase their market share, while keeping existing customers happy and attracting new ones.

Ethnic makeup

The Census Bureau officially recognizes the following ethnic and racial categories: White American, African American, Asian American, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

‘Some Other Race’ and ‘Two Or More Races’ are two further boxes that citizens can tick.

Here is a breakdown of the 2010 figures, number and percentage of population (rounded).

  • White American – 223,553,265 (72.4%)
  • African American – 38,929,319 (12.6%)
  • Asian American – 14,674,252 (4.8%)
  • Native American or Alaska Native – 2,932,248 (0.9%)
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – 540,013 (0.2%)
  • Some Other Race – 19,107,368 (6.2%)
  • Two Or More Races – 9,009,073 (2.9%)

The Census Bureau also classifies White Americans as ‘Hispanic or Latino’ and ‘Not Hispanic or Latino’ – thereby identifying Hispanic and Latino Americans as a racially diverse ethnicity that composes the largest minority group in the nation.

Here is a breakdown of the situation four years ago (again rounded).

  • Hispanic or Latino – 50,477,594 (16.4%)
  • Not Hispanic or Latino – 258,267,944 (83.6%)

The total population of Hispanic and Latino Americans therefore made up 50.5 million of the country’s entire population in 2010.

Multi-cultural tipping point

The Hispanic population grew by a staggering 43% between 2000 and 2010 – accounting for more than half the growth in the total US population during the decade – surging from 35.3 million to 50.5 million.

In comparison, the non-Hispanic population grew relatively slowly over the period at about 5%, while within this group the number of people who reported their race as white alone grew even more slowly at 1%.

Although the non-Hispanic white alone population increased numerically from 194.6 million to 196.8 million over the 10-year period, its proportion of the total population contracted significantly from 69% to 64%.

And we can expect to see more of the same in the coming decades.

In addition to White Americans becoming a minority in 2043, the Census Bureau reckons: the Hispanic or Latino population will jump to 30% by the time 2050 rolls around; the Asian American population will rise to 7.8%; and the African American population will grow – albeit somewhat slightly –  to 13%.

The total population of the country, meanwhile, is projected to reach a whopping 439 million from 310 million in 2010, with the vast majority of the increase coming from immigrants and their children.

In fact, as many as 62% of the nation’s youngsters in 2050 are expected to be of a minority ethnicity, of which 39% are projected to be Hispanic or Latino, so it’s crystal clear why brands need to pay close attention to the changing makeup of society.

But this isn’t just something to be aware of in the future. EthniFacts is right in saying the US already has an extremely diverse ethnic melting pot. Multiracial populations, intermarried couples, cohabitating households and people living in multi-ethnic areas all contribute towards this vast diversity.

Translation and website localization are two tools that you can use to your advantage. But what areas of the country should you target?

A case for California

The vast majority of the largest urban counties in the US are already majority-minority.

California is one of most multicultural states in the country. Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County and Sacramento County are a handful of its 58 counties with a majority-minority.

The fact that San Bernardino County is one of the largest counties in the US and Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the US speaks volumes.

California has the country’s largest Hispanic population – some 14 million – and this figure is expected to carry on growing.

Earlier this year, Latinos surpassed the number of non-Hispanic Whites living in the state to become its largest racial or ethnic population – putting it just behind New Mexico, where Latinos make up the largest percentage of any racial or ethnic group.

Texas, Florida, Arizona and Nevada could all follow in California’s footsteps as well.

California also has the largest Asian population – six million – while Hawaii has the largest Asian population share.

Brands could therefore use California as a stepping stone to help target new Hispanic and Asian markets.

Translating the content of your website to the likes of Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese and Vietnamese should be your first step. These are the four most common tongues other than English that are spoken in the state.

Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin are also popular in what is a linguistically diverse area.

Just remember that adapting your content to local audiences is one of the best ways of getting new customers on side.



 
 

Sign up to our newsletter

Get our blog articles straight to your inbox.