The “average American” ethnic make-up is rapidly changing and there seems to be no end. Since 2000, the racial composition of America has been experiencing a dramatic shift. As a result, the general trend in today’s America is steadily moving farther from homogeneity towards a more evident diversity. According to demographic expert Peter Francese’s Ad Age white paper publication, which provides predictions on 2010 U.S. Census results, the average American commonly dubbed as “Joe” will be an odd man out. Francese says in the major 10 largest cities of the nation, there will be “no racial or ethnic category describing a majority of the population.” For multicultural marketers, this means an opportunity to expand their efforts, providing effective outreach to organizations recognizing this dynamic shift. Now that is something to think about.
The police departments throughout the U.S. are now one of the public service organizations that are on board with the changes. Recently, several news articles reported on police departments seeking more bilingual officers to serve on their staff. Policing diverse communities requires trusted voices with proper language capabilities. Furthermore, for integration purposes it is imperative for immigrant communities to feel that they are accepted and recognized as groups, which could contribute to the overall success of the society where they reside.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says, “It helps immensely working with the communities in the city, the most diverse city in the world…we can, in very short order, get someone on the scene who speaks the language.” Kelly highlighted the need for hiring bilingual officers who speak more than one language. The same is evident in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Lexington, KY police departments which proactively encourage bilingualism through pay raises as well as language enrichment education programs and other incentive programs. Currently, police departments “are trying to tap into the same pool as federal law enforcement agencies and the armed forces – 25-35-year-olds in good shape who have little personal debt that could lure them into corruption.” These individuals must be dependable because they are vital to promoting national security by utilizing their unique connectedness to their local communities.
Finding the right people to occupy critical posts is never easy. The competition to find qualified, culturally and linguistically skilled individuals is even tighter when public service organizations are competing with federal agencies to recruit the best candidates from an identical pool. The solution will require an effective multicultural marketing campaign which is clever and familiar with ethnically diverse communities that it seeks to reach.
On Sunday March 21, 2010 in Washington, D.C. while the House debated the outcome of the healthcare reform bill, thousands marched outside the closed doors in support of immigration reform. Thousands of rally attendees waved American flags and held homemade bilingual signs in English and Spanish. The demonstrators chanted “Healthcare reform today – immigration reform tomorrow.” As of late Sunday evening, the vote on healthcare legislation passed with 219-212 vote in favor of the bill.
Approximately 12.6 percent, representing 38.1 million people, of the total population in U.S. is foreign born as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007. The Department of Homeland Security estimates the number of unauthorized immigrant population living in the United States decreased to 10.8 million since January of 2009. The greater debate on the stance of illegal immigration and immigration reform as a whole has been a topic of intense discussion occupying a prominent place in various discussions. In spite of the ongoing debates, at the core America is a nation of diverse immigrants who feed the multicultural spectrum of the nation’s society. That spectrum was vividly evident at the rally itself. Various immigrant groups from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin and South America came to show support for the immigration reform initiative.
This year’s outreach efforts in part contributed to over 200,000 overall attendance count. The big turnout at the event in large is due to the unique outreach strategy. Reaching out to immigrant population requires a strategic, culturally appropriate, and knowledgeable approach. Many in language media and community groups publicized the event to their audiences. A local popular Hispanic radio station El Zol, which serves Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. area, provided informational talks with event organizers and participants, DJ discussions and open talks with their listeners about the rally for several weeks prior to the event. Earlier today, listeners called the station to thank hosts on their extensive outreach efforts. Overall, Spanish-language media outlets and various Spanish-language radio stations all around the nation have been instrumental in mobilizing their audiences for the protest.
Mobilization efforts reap benefits from motivated audiences. The wide array of culturally relevant media outlets provide necessary support to the grassroots efforts wishing to increase broader community participation. People are more eager to answer the call of action when called upon in their native language.
Photo courtesy of: Reform Immigration For America
We will have to start re-thinking where to place advertising dollars in America. The shift has already begun—transferring ideas and budgets from mainstream marketing to multicultural marketing. But from a study released this past Monday, it looks like effective ethnic advertising cannot be acquired just by targeting the top markets like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The study reveals that immigrants are no longer found solely in large metropolitan areas, but have gravitated towards smaller cities such as El Paso, TX, Minneapolis, MN, and Sarasota, FL. This move may be because smaller cities have a lower cost of living and more job opportunities.
The immigrants in these small cities were found to have been in the U.S. for fewer than 10 years. “We found that the immigrant communities in these smaller metro areas are much less developed,” Gary Painter, director of research at the Lusk Center and co-author of the study said. Those in the larger cities moved to the U.S. much longer ago.
These findings are important to the multicultural marketing world because they indicate that although they may have the same ethnicity and culture, their media practices and language level vary. Immigrants in large cities may be more acclimated and educated, which means they probably use print media more. Newer immigrants in smaller cities most likely turn to in-language TV and radio as a means to get their news.
Marketers must use this information when strategizing how to target an audience through different media channels and creative teams must remember this when developing a culturally and linguistically effective message.
Multicultural advertising goes beyond knowing where your consumers are located; it requires a cultural awareness and sensitivity. When advertising to the ethnic market, we must keep in mind Painter’s words–“We are no longer a country where immigration is largely confined to just a few places.”
2010 Census forms will arrive this week in 120 million mailboxes between March 15-17 ― continuing the constitutionally mandated, once-a-decade population count and civic ceremony that dates back to 1790.
Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves is urging communities to fill out and return their census forms as soon as they receive them. “It’s one of the shortest forms in our lifetime asking just 10 questions and should only take about 10 minutes to complete ― yet the benefits to your community are enormous.” In fact, census data help determine how more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to tribal, state and local governments every year ― including funding for schools, roads, health care and other critical social service programs.
Groves adds that if residents mail back the census form, they could help save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. “It’s a lot less expensive to get responses back by mail than it is to send census takers to knock on doors of households that failed to respond,” he explains. Following up door-to-door to count households from May to July will require hiring about 650,000 census workers and cost more than $2.3 billion.
It’s Easy: A Look at the 2010 Census Questionnaire
The census mailing package includes a cover letter, the 2010 Census form and a postage-paid return envelope. The 10 questions are basic and should take about 10 minutes to complete. The 2010 Census asks the following questions:
1. The number of people living in the residence
2. Any additional people that might be living there as of April 1, 2010
3. Whether the residence is owned or rented
4. Telephone number (in case the Census Bureau has follow-up questions)
7. Age and date of birth
8. Whether of Hispanic origin
10. Whether that person sometimes lives somewhere else
The Census forms will be available in Russian. Residents can obtain the forms by calling Telephone Questionnaire Assistance at 1-866-965-2010 for help in Russian or 1-866-872-6868 for help in English. Bilingual census personnel at Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QACs) also can help Russian speakers fill out English forms that they receive in the mail.
Language Assistance Guides in 59 languages, including Arabic, Polish and Russian are also available at local QACs or at 2010Census.gov. The 2010Census.gov site also provides an informational video in different languages explaining step-by-step instructions for filling out the census form.
It’s Safe: Your Personal Information is Confidential by Law
Census data are the basis for America’s representative democracy, ensuring that Congress is reapportioned every 10 years based on a state’s total population. All census responses are confidential; they are protected by law and not shared with anyone. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ individually identifiable answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. All Census Bureau employees take the oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data.
Today, March 9 2010, The U.S. Census Bureau launched a “Children Count Too” public awareness campaign reminding parents to include babies and young children on their 2010 Census forms. Most of the nation’s 120 million households will begin receiving census questionnaires by mail between March 15 and March 17.
“A complete and accurate count of our nation’s youngest is critical to their health and education, and the future strength of our communities and labor force,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves at a news conference at Mary’s Center, a nonprofit maternal and child care center serving immigrant communities in Washington.
The campaign features Dora the Explorer ― the popular children’s character on Nickelodeon’s award-winning animated preschool series ― addressing the importance of counting kids in the 2010 Census. In partnership with the Census Bureau, Nickelodeon has produced television and radio public service announcements, Web buttons and fact sheets in which Dora and her friends remind families that “everybody counts on the census form, especially little kids.” All materials are available in English and Spanish.
“We’ve arrived at a crossroads in American history where it’s more important than ever for all of us to stand up and be counted,” said Samantha Maltin, senior vice president for integrated marketing and partnerships at Nickelodeon. “Dora the Explorer is an iconic bilingual character for American families of all backgrounds, and with her help, Nickelodeon will remind families how easy, important and safe it is to participate in the census.”
As part of this initiative, federal, corporate and nonprofit organizations with unique access to families and child care providers will distribute Children Count Too educational materials. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, a world leader in infant and children’s nutrition, will use its connection with parents of newborns and online resources to communicate the importance of including children in the 2010 Census to more than 1 million families.
Impact of undercounting children
Children have been undercounted in every census since the first one in 1790. According to a December 2009 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children under age 5 are missed at a higher rate than any other age group.
“The undercount of kids is startling, but it is not a new problem,” said William O’Hare, a demographer and consultant working for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “With combined efforts at the federal, state and local levels, we have a chance to improve on the past and make sure the youngest members of our society are fully counted.”
“Every child counted in the 2010 Census will help identify communities in need and bring resources to address specific vulnerabilities, whether they are in health care, child care, education, transportation and affordable housing,” said Mary’s Center President and CEO Maria Gomez. “Only through well-funded comprehensive and multiservice programs will places like Mary’s Center be able to have an impact on the nation’s health care outcomes.”
Local communities rely on census information in planning for schools, child care, health and other critical services. Additionally, community-based and social service organizations use census data to determine social services requirements for families with children.
The 2010 Census campaign is well underway as it heads towards the National Census Day on April 1, 2010. During the week of March 8, 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau will begin mailing about 120 million Advance Letters to households around the nation. These letters will serve as one of the first official communications between the nation’s households and the U.S. Census Bureau during the bicentennial census. Household residents will be informed that they should be receiving their census forms on the week of March 15, 2010 and the importance of completing their forms and mailing them back. According to Director Groves, “The advance letter helps people know that their 2010 Census form will be arriving soon and is an important reminder about the impact the census has on our communities, that the census is important and that everyone needs to participate.”
The Advance Letters are a continuum of a robust outreach for the 2010 Census which took place last week. On March 1, 2010 census workers began hand-delivering 2010 Census questionnaires to households living in rural and other parts of the nation. The more than 120 million households that receive both the Advance Letter and 2010 Census form by mail represent about 90 percent of all residential addresses in the country.
The letters will be printed in English with an informational message about the coming of the 2010 Census form that is expected to begin arriving starting next week. There will also be the following short written message in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and Simplified Chinese: “Go to 2010census.gov for help completing your 2010 Census form when it arrives” included in the letter. Each letter is signed by Director Groves.
The text of the advance letter is as follows:
About one week from now, you will receive a 2010 Census form in the mail. When you receive your form, please fill it out and mail it in promptly. Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share. Thank you in advance for your help.
Sincerely, Robert M. Groves
Director, U.S. Census Bureau
More information about the Advance Letter can be found here
“Today is a big day because of 12 million households”, stated Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. Beginning March 1, census takers will start hand-delivering census questionnaires to about 12 million households in rural and other parts of the country. This and other news were announced earlier this morning during the Census Bureau media advisory event held at Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center Community Development Department in the City of Los Angeles. During the event, the U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves briefed media on the status of 2010 Census operations, including an overview of when the public should expect to receive 2010 Census forms, updates on upcoming census operation and events, as well as census promotional and outreach activities.
To reiterate the safety of communicating with census takers, Director Groves pointed out two key features designated to separate official census takers from possible impostors. Residents should look for a bag with the Census logo, and a badge containing an official U.S Department of Commerce Seal. These badges will often be worn by takers on their necks and include their name and expiration date. The packages brought by census takers will include a letter asking for full participation as is required by U.S. law, a ten question census questionnaire with a return envelope. All that is being asked of recipients is to take a few minutes to fill out the form and mail it back by April 1. As noted by Director Groves, “Census day is April 1, a reference date, not a deadline date”.
Within the first week of March, following the hand-delivered census questionnaires, 90% of the households across the nation will receive 200 million letters signed directly by Dr. Groves informing residents that the 2010 Census forms are on their way. By March 15 the same packages, sent out earlier in the month, including the letter will reach those households. About 12 million households will receive bilingual forms printed in both English and Spanish. All residents should expect to receive a letter, a package (containing the census form), and reminder note. In some areas a replacement questionnaire will be sent out once again during the first and second weeks of April. By the first of May, census takers plan to visit as many as 48 million households – knocking on doors and conducting enumerations- as part of the Non Response Follow-up (NARFU) operation.
In addition to key dates several operational initiatives that are being undertaken for the upcoming census were discussed. The Census 2010 Language Assistance Program will help to reduce the cost of the 2010 Census by lowering the number of census takers that must go door-to-door to help residents fill out the form. The Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC), an estimated 30 thousand centers in local neighborhoods, will host census staff to provide questionnaire assistance in foreign languages. The census website will provide locations and numbers of these centers. According to Director Groves “the 200 thousand census partnership agencies are the heartbeat of the decennial census”.
In regards to census advertising and media buys in 2010, Director Groves reminisced upon the success of advertising efforts undertaken in the last census which helped to reverse decades-long low rate of low participation. The focus of the 23rd census is to target more local media networks, with special designed campaign for ethnic subgroups in their languages. Director Groves noted that he “wished there was more money to spread” among ethnic media vendors but he hopes that the money that is “being held back will help later on to target areas that did not do well with on returning their census forms”.
A Q&A session followed after the briefing.