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Siderbars & Backgrounders

By the Project For Excellence In Journalism
Sidebars and Backgrounders


The 2010 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau was planning a major advertising campaign in Hispanic media aimed at encouraging participation in the 2010 census.

The Census Bureau estimated that it would spend almost $28 million on advertising in Hispanic media for the 2010 Census, compared to the $19 million it spent for the 2000 Census.1

The impact could also extend beyond the immediate revenue.

It could be a “game-changer” for Hispanics and Hispanic media. According to Telemundo Communications Group president Don Browne, the Census would reveal a growing Hispanic population in new areas of the country, which should be of interest to marketers and media owners.

Because larger numbers can mean more money for Hispanic media outlets, many are working to ensure that Hispanics are not undercounted, as some believe they were during the 2000 Census.

Telemundo, along with community groups, created an outreach program called “¡Hazte Contar!”  (“Be Counted!”) to increase awareness of the 2010 Census among Hispanics. “We want to make sure that people know this is one of the most confidential processes you can be involved in,” said Telemundo Communications Group president Don Browne.  The network also introduced a plotline about a Census recruiter in its telenovela Mas Sabe El Diablo (The Devil Knows Best).2

Univision will broadcast a 30-minute program in March 2010 to guide its viewers through the process of filling out Census forms.

Not all Hispanic media are encouraging Hispanics to participate in the Census. A Latino evangelical preacher with a radio show in 11 U.S. markets urged his listeners in the U.S. illegally not to take part in the Census.3

Hispanic Demographics

The U.S. Hispanic population has experienced rapid growth and remains concentrated in the West and Southwestern regions of the country. Since 1990, the Hispanic population has more than doubled, up from 21.9 million in 1990.4 The 2010 Census is expected to show that the total Hispanic population has risen to almost 50 million, up from 38 million in 2000.5

Almost half of all Hispanics live in California and Texas, and they remain more geographically concentrated than the nation’s second-largest minority group, non-Hispanic blacks.6

A majority, 60.2%, was born in the United States. Nearly two-thirds (64.3%) of Hispanics say they have Mexican ancestral origins, followed by 9.1% who say they are of Puerto Rican origin, 3.5% who say they are of Cuban origin, 3.2% who say they are of Salvadoran origin, and 2.6% who say they are of Dominican origin.7

The flow of immigrants from Mexico grew in the early part of the decade, but the flow of immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. declined sharply from 2006 till 2009.8

Language preference is often determined by place of birth. American-born Hispanic Americans are more likely to speak English than those born in other countries. More than a third, or 37.1%, of American-born Hispanics aged 18 and older said they only speak English at home, according to Pew Hispanic Center. Almost half said they speak English “very well,” even if they speak a language other than English at home.

Not surprisingly, those numbers fall when foreign-born Hispanics are included. Only 18.7% of all Hispanics 18 and older speak English exclusively at home and 35.2% said they speak English “very well,” even though they speak a language other than English at home.9

Age is also a predictor of language use. About half, 50.3%, of both American-born and foreign-born Hispanics under 18 said they speak English very well, even if another language is spoken in their home. Less than a third (31.7%) say they speak only English at home.10

One way Hispanic media outlets have adjusted to the challenge of serving both native-born and immigrant populations is through bilingual publications and broadcasts or by offering Spanish-language content that is specifically targeted at the native-born population.

African American Demographics

Though African Americans have fallen behind Hispanics as the largest minority group in the United States, they still make up a growing market with a vibrant media sector. The Census Bureau estimates there are 39.9 million non-Hispanic blacks in the United States, 12.9% of the total population. The population is expected to grow 42.7% by 2050, to 56.9 million.11

The median household income level of African Americans, though, often an indicator of advertiser appeal, trails all other ethnic groups measured: $35,425, compared to $41,470 for Hispanics, $56,826 for whites, $70,069 for Asians and $52,029 for the total population.12

In a difficult year, advertising revenue for African American media declined 9.6%, to $1.8 billion, in the 12 months ending June 2009, according to estimates by the Nielsen Company. In comparison, Spanish-language media fell 6.3% in the same period.13

The impact varied by sector, with national magazines and syndicated television faring the worst. Several magazines faced rumors of sale. In television, two of the three largest stations had substantial increases in ad revenues as well as audience growth.

To learn more about the companies that own African American media, go to Who Owns the News Media.

Asian American Demographics

Of all Asian Americans, 40.6% say they speak English “very well,” but less than a quarter speak only English, suggesting potential for native-language publications.14

Economically, this demographic group also holds potential. Asian households have a higher median income than any other group tracked by the Census: $70,069.  That compares with $56,826 for whites, $41,470 for Hispanics and $35,425 for blacks according to the U.S. Census Bureau.15 The Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia projects that Asian buying power – or disposable income – will reach $752 billion by 2013, up from $509 billion in 2008.16 Asian Americans also have very high rates of business and home ownership.17

Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity
Design Your Own Chart
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Asians are also highly educated. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey, almost half of the American Asian population (49.7%) has a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than any other ethnic group. Among non-Hispanic whites, just 30.7% do, and for blacks the figure is just 17.5%.18

The Asian population in the U.S. grew by 2.9% from 2006 to 2007.19

Filipino Americans are attractive to advertisers because they have a relatively high employment rate of 68.9%, compared to 64.8% among all Americans.20


Auditing in ethnic media: Although auditing is commonplace among major mainstream English-language weeklies and dailies, in ethnic media, auditing is less common because outlets generally do not have the same pool of resources and an audit can be a costly process. As a result, many ethnic publications put out self reported numbers that are generally unverified. This is an obstacle for many advertisers because most advertisers require proof of circulation/readership before consenting to spending big ad dollars. In many areas of ethnic media when a paper or magazine participates in regular audits, it is seen as a sign of maturity.

Weeklies vs. Dailies in Hispanic print: Generally, weeklies are started up in emerging Hispanic markets that are not large enough to support dailies of their own. They may also be family operations that do not have the resources to publish daily. A few are also former struggling dailies that cut back frequency.


1. Carol Morello, “Census Gets Some Latino Help and Needs It,” Washington Post, October 2, 2009.

2. Mike Reynolds, “Hispanic TV Summit: Telemundo’s Browne—Count On Census 2010 Being a ‘Game-Changer,’” Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable, September 24, 2009.

3. Carol Morello, “Census Gets Some Latino Help and Needs It,” Washington Post, October 2, 2009.

4. “Hispanics in the News,” Project for Excellence in Journalism. December 7, 2009.

5. Noreen O’Leary. “Hispanic Market Is Set to Soar,” BrandWeek, November 2, 2009.

6. E-mail from Mark Lopez, November 30, 2009.

7. “Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 2007,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 5, 2009.

8. Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn.  “Mexican Immigrants: How Many Come? How Many Leave?” Pew Hispanic Center, July 22, 2009.

9. “Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 2007,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 5, 2009.

10. “Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 2007,” Pew Hispanic Center, March 5, 2009.

11. U.S. Census Bureau, National Population Projections, released 2009 (based on Census 2000).

12. U.S. Census Bureau, Median Household Income.

13. Laurel Wentz, “Ad Spending in Spanish-Language Media Falls by 6.3%, Nielsen Says,” Advertising Age, October 29, 2009.

14. U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 American Community Survey

15. U.S. Census Bureau: Fact Finder

16. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, “The Multicultural Economy 2008,” The Selig Center for Economic Growth.

17. “Marketing to Asian Americans,” AdweekMedia.  May 26, 2008

18. American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Sex by Educational Attainment for the Population 25 Years and Over, 2008.

19. U.S. Census Bureau, “U.S. Hispanic Population Surpasses 45 Million,” May 1, 2008.

20. Dyna Lopez, “Filipinos Among the Biggest Spenders in U.S.,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 16, 2009.  Accessed via