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The Download: Census data, race, and advertising

Posted in: Demographics   Massachusetts Legislature   Current Affairs   Education
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Robert Groves, the director of the US Census Bureau, is a man in demand. While state demographers mull over why people are fleeing Lincoln, Stockbridge, and Provincetown, advertisers are trying to make sense of what new Census data mean for their big picture: marketing products and services to American consumers.

Speaking at an American Association of Advertising Agencies conference earlier this month, Groves offered a few pointers on the population changes advertisers need to pay attention to. The takeaway? Advertisers will need to better understand how the country is becoming steadily more racially and ethnically diverse.

The country has the highest percentage of foreign-born residents since the 1920s. “The growth and dispersion of the Hispanic population will be one of the headlines of the 2010 census,” Groves said. Mexicans comprise the largest numbers of foreign-born residents, followed by Chinese, Filipinos, and Indians. Advertisers will have to consider that these groups make purchasing decisions through the “lens of their home cultures.” Groves said.

Racial and ethnic minority populations are growing faster than whites, especially in younger age groups. In Massachusetts, whites are still in the majority, but that population declined nearly two percent while African American, Asian, and Hispanic populations showed significant increases.  There are now eight majority-minority cities in the Bay State: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, Randolph, and Springfield.

Advertisers, particularly those who want to reach the all-important youth market, will have to be more savvy about the language and culture of the consumers they want to reach, in addition to their racial and ethnic identities.

Another other small, but fast growing, group are the people who checked off one or more races on their Census forms. There are now about 5 million Americans who identify as biracial or multiracial. Groves said though the numbers are still small, the group is growing at a rate “that is really quite amazing.” Depending on the state, their numbers increased anywhere from 30 to 60 percent during the last decade. Two perceptive reports from The New York Times show how mixed-race couples are faring in the Deep South and how college students are embracing their multiple racial and ethnic identities. 

                                                                                                                                                        --GABRIELLE GURLEY

BEACON HILL

A Boston Herald editorial labels the proposed expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center a boondoggle before the thing even gets off the ground. 

WASHINGTON

Scott Brown stakes out a middle ground on abortion.

Local community health centers are bracing for what would be devastating cuts under a plan by congressional Republicans to slash more than $1 billion in federal funding for the clinics, the Globe reports.

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA has already sent back one of the five locomotives it recently called in as reinforcements, and is using a second to harvest spare parts. 

REDISTRICTING

WBUR explains the redistricting process.

The scramble begins in earnest to remake the state's congressional district map with one less district. Boston got smaller – before it quickly got bigger, according to a flush-faced Bill Galvin.

New Census data puts the squeeze on politicians from the Cape and the state's western reaches, while enhancing the political clout of the Worcester area. Howie Carr predicts US Rep. John Olver will be the pol who gets thrown overboard in the upcoming round of musical chairs. 

The North Shore’s Sixth District saw population growth over the last 10 years, which officials there hope will help protect the district from being broken up during redistricting.

Meanwhile, the Lowell Sun reports that Census figures for Greater Lowell will likely allow the 5th Congressional District to remain intact.

Worcester County expects to gain a state representative seat during redistricting, according to the Telegram & Gazette. The county saw a 6.3 percent increase in population over the last decade.

Other Census figures show Gloucester has shrunk by nearly 5 percent, but Lynn, Revere, Peabody and Saugus have grown in population.

Keller@Large says the exodus of young people from the state after they go to college is one of the reasons Massachusetts had only modest population growth.

National Census data shows Hispanics driving national population growth, and African-Americans leaving cities for Southern suburbs. And things are downright ugly in Detroit

EDUCATION

State education commissioner Mitchell Chester warned that the Fall River and Holyoke school systems could face state takeover if they do not show significant improvement over the next year.

The Weekly Standard makes a case that college and university admissions offices are quietly recruiting an underrepresented minority populationwhite males – after decades of trying to level the playing fields for all other groups.

UMass Amherst plans to ratchet up recruitment of transfer students from the state's two-year community colleges.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Sun Chronicle spotlights a success story in reclaiming vacant buildings and brownfields. 

The Fall River City Council voted to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies. But the new ordinance means Stop & Shop, Walmart, and Shaw’s will also be forced to remove cigarettes because they have pharmacies in their stores.

Raynham officials are putting the arm on the state for 10 mitigation measures, including funding for a new public safety building, in exchange for the proposed South Coast rail going through town.

ELECTION 2012

The National Review is running brief “If I were President” blog entries, and today is Mitt Romney’s turn. He’s vowing to issue waivers to all 50 states as a way to gut the health care reform law.

Unions are aiming, in the parlance of a certain Somerville-based congressman, to bloody up Scott Brown and his labor record in order improve the chances of defeating Sen. Pickup Truck in 2012.  

Wait, why was Sarah Palin wearing a Star of David?

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

The New York Times looks at the proliferation of solar farms on vacant plots. 

SOCIAL ISSUES

About 1 in 5 high school girls reports being physically or sexually abused by a romantic partner, according to figures gathered by the Essex District Attorney’s office. The numbers were presented during a conference on teen dating violence at the North Shore Community College Danvers campus.

WBUR reports that the Supreme Court is taking up a case to decide whether parents who fail to make child support payments can be legally jailed without the state providing a lawyer to the parent.

BUSINESS

Boston Redevelopment Authority officials and business owners are betting the new Liberty Wharf, on the site of the iconic but departed Jimmy’s Harborside, will finally turn the Seaport District into the destination developers have envisioned.

The Red Sox owners, whose domain has stretched to NASCAR and English soccer, have changed the name of the ownership group from New England Sports Ventures to Fenway Sports Group. And they got a new theme song.

SEPTEMBER 11TH TENTH ANNIVERSARY

That flag that flew across from the World Trade Center during 9/11 will visit Danvers tomorrow. The damaged flag has been brought to other disaster sites across the country over the years, and is currently making a tour of all 50 states in honor of the tenth anniversary of September 11th. 

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