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Multicultural is the new mainstream.

The 2010 Census data released last week further underscores why marketers must begin blurring the distinctions between the general and multicultural markets.

In marketing terms, the multicultural effort is often managed in a silo, funded with the money left over from the general market campaign.  Those days must fade away – population trends and good business sense demand that we think differently.  Multicultural marketing must be central to our thinking.

In many states across the U.S., multicultural markets are increasingly mainstream – not just in California and New York, but also in states like Delaware, Maryland, Louisiana and Nevada.  In each of these states the white population accounts for about two-thirds or less of the total.

If you want a glimpse of the future, look no further than the ethnicity of the youth market:  among people under 18 years old, whites make up only 57% of this cohort.  Millennials have grown up during a time marked by dramatic growth in immigration and racial integration.  Multiculturalism is simply a fact of life for this group, reinforced early on by Sesame Street, and later in the classroom, as well as in film and music.

Moreover, those who view multicultural marketing in black and white terms need to think again.  The 2010 Census shows that the U.S. Hispanic population jumped 42% over the past decade and now accounts for 1-in-6 Americans.  Hispanics are now the dominant minority group in 191 of the nation's 366 metro markets – and not just in the Sun Belt.  This trend will likely keep growing, if for no other reason than the simple fact that the median age of Latino women is 28 years old, whereas the median age of white women is 42.

This multimedia tool from USA Today offers a nice summary.

(PS:  penned by a Pakistani-born son of Irish immigrants...aka a census category of one.)

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