The Six Demographics Changing North Carolina and What It Means for Communicators (Part 1)

Last month, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce hosted their second-annual Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Conference. Dr. James Johnson, a professor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler School of Business, opened the conference by discussing the six disruptive demographics that will change North Carolina forever. Some of these may be surprising, but others are demographic shifts that we’ve been hearing about for a while.

Here is what we think this will mean for communications practitioners in our state. In this first installment, we’ll explore the first three demographic shifts. The second installment will follow on July 13, 2018.

1 The Growth of the South

It’s no secret that North Carolina is experiencing tremendous growth, as is much of the Southeast United States. From 2010 to 2016, North Carolina saw an influx of over 610,000 people. More than 70,000 of those people were foreign-born, with the fastest-increasing demographic in our state being the Hispanic population. According to Dr. Johnson, the Hispanic population grew by 1,114 percent from 1990-2016.

What does this mean for people who work in the communications field? It means we need to think about our industry from a more global and inclusive perspective. The people moving to our state have purchasing power and the first communicators to snatch up the foreign-born share of the market will reap the most rewards.

2 The Browning of America

Speaking of a growing Hispanic population, this demographic is the fastest growing legal immigrant population in the United States. In North Carolina, the Hispanic population accounted for 24 percent of our state’s population growth and that number will only continue to rise, especially considering the median age for Hispanic people in North Carolina is 24 years old. That’s compared to White, non-Hispanic people in our state, where the median age is 44 years old. Younger ages mean higher fertility rates, which means a growing population.

What does this mean for us? It means the Hispanic market is overdue for some attention. As this population continues to grow in our state, we’ll need to rethink our communications and marketing efforts. We’ll also need to think about the issues that affect this community and what public policy initiatives will be important to this younger demographic: education, childcare and immigration, for instance. For communicators, we should be prepared to see a shift in issue advocacy efforts that will measure

3 Marriages Across Races and Ethnicities

From 1980 to 2008, the percentage of people who were newly married to someone of a different race or ethnicity more than doubled from 6.7 percent to 14.6 percent, with 41 percent of those marriages occurring between someone Hispanic and someone White. Asian/White marriages accounted for 15 percent, while Black/White marriages accounted for 11 percent and both non-white marriages accounted for 16 percent.

For marketing in particular, this means we may need to re-think how we portray families in our advertising efforts. If this trend continues, the percentage of marriages occurring between people of different races and ethnicities will only continue to rise. Eventually, commercials like the infamous one from Cheerios in 2013 will no longer be controversial—they’ll be the norm.

We hope you enjoyed this first installment in our series. Stay tuned for the second post on July 13, 2018.