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Brief Published: 7 Oct 2015

African-American Consumer Insights

African-American income levels are rising fast

The size and influence of the US African-American segment is growing faster than that of non-Hispanic whites, according to a September 2015 Nielsen report. The black population is set to increase to 74 million by 2060, making up 18% of the total US population.

  • Rising Affluence: The growth rate of African-American income levels exceeds that of non-Hispanic whites at every level above $60,000. The percentage of black households earning more than $200,000 increased by 138% from 2005 to 2013, while the increase for the total population was 74%.
  • Influential Voice: African-Americans are a force for cultural influence across ethnic groups, forging trends in music, television and film. This is partly because of their youthful demographic profile: the average age of African-Americans is 31.4 years, compared to 39 years for the non-Hispanic white population.
  • Super-Social: This demographic is 44% more likely to use social networking platforms to show support for their favourite brands than non-Hispanic whites with similar income. Smartphone penetration is 5% higher among African-Americans than the rest of the population.
  • Learning Fast: African-American consumers are increasingly educated, with 71% of black high school graduates enrolled in college last year – more than both whites and Hispanics.

As the borders between traditional consumer groups continue to erode, brands must develop more multicultural strategies – see SXSWi 2015: Dissolving Demographics for more.