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US Census Bureau estimates released yesterday indicate that Hispanics now outnumber Blacks and have become the nation’s largest minority group.

The Hispanic population rose 4.7 percent between April 2000 and July 2001, from 35.3 million to 37 million. During the same period, the non-Hispanic black population rose about 2 percent, from 35.5 million to 36.1 million. The Hispanic population in the US more than doubled during the 90s, according to the report, because both high birth rates and immigration.

According to the Census figures, the white, non-Hispanic population is now about 196 million, and grew 0.3 percent between April 2000 and July 2001.
KC's View:
This is an enormous shift, both in terms of its reality and its symbolism.

In some of the news reports on this story, some analysts are saying that the socio-political implications of this change will be minor because many of the Hispanics are undocumented and cannot vote.

But you can bet that the next Presidential election will be cognizant of the shift.

In addition, it seems pretty clear that retailers and manufacturers will have to shift gears somewhat to account for and cater to these demographic changes.

As the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) made clear at its midwinter conference last week, these demographic shifts are rife with opportunity...but retailers have to be willing to seek them out and capitalize on them.

Sometimes we think that too many retailers will focus on IT problems and supply chain issues at their morning meetings, and ignore big stories and big ideas like this one. Any retailer that wants to survive, it seems to us, ought to be actively figuring out how the demographics are changing in its market and what five steps are being taken to prepare for and exploit these shifts.