The Black Subculture

Demographics Characteristics:

Generally, blacks may be described as disadvantaged compared with whites, in terms of education and occupational attainment. They are also more likely than whites to live in the crowded, poorer neighborhoods of large cities.

Size: The black market, America’s largest racial minority market, amounts to approximately by 30 million people, or bout 12 percent of the total US market. The market size is increasing almost three times as fast as the white population and is projected to comprise 36 million people by the year 2000.

Location: Although the percentage of blacks in the total US population has remained rather constant since 1900, their geographic distribution has changed significantly during the last few decades. The percent living in the south has decreased slowly until 1980 hen reverse immigration began to occur, yet the south still accounts for about 56 percent of all blacks in the United States an for approximately 20 percent of the region’s population (compared with a less than 10 percent share of the population in the north and west).

Income and Employment: Black buying power stands at approximately $ 150 billion. However, while the ratio of black family income to that of whites has increased, the median figure is still only 57 percent that of whites.

The proportion of blacks in each occupational category is beginning to approximate more closely their share of the total labor force. Thus, more members of this group have moved into skilled, better paying jobs.

Education: Blacks have readily improved their educational position. The percentage of blacks completing high school has increased while the percentage going on to college has decreased. Both remain at lower rates than for whites.

Family and Age: One of the most striking patterns of the black family is its tendency toward matrilinealism. Almost 50 percent of blacks live in families headed by a female with no husband present.

A final characteristic that distinguishes this group is its age distribution. It is considerably younger than the white population with a median age of 27 compared to 33 for whites.

Psychographic Characteristics:

Recent lifestyle and psychographic segmentation research on the black market has led to numerous interesting and useful findings. For example the Leo Burnett advertising agency has concluded that black female lifestyle patterns, particularly in an urban setting, indicate stringer interest in style and fashion than those of whites. There is also less mobility and less involvement in traditional civic and community organizations, greater reliance on the electronic media, and a stronger sense of alienation than with average white American. Black women also have a stronger commitment to the importance of work and a clearer career orientation than do white women. Their lifestyle patterns and attitudes generally reveal the importance of money and budgeting and the need to be conservative, smart shoppers. As reflects their generally lower incomes, black women are more value conscious more expectant of future income gains, and are heavier advertising readers. In spite of this orientation there appears to be little advertising directed toward the black woman, acknowledging her needs and attitudes in the areas of price and values.

There also are important differences between middle class black and middleclass white women in the area of the home. Black has a stronger self perception about neatness and traditional hem pride. They work hard to keep their home neat and clean and they have a strong desire to live even better in the future and to make improvements such as installing better fixtures and dependable appliances.

Although lifestyle research has found that there are really more similarities than differences between black and white women, there are still a number of implications from findings such as those cited above. First, since black families are larger than white ones with more working mothers, this group could be an excellent target for many convenience foods ad home appliances. Second, because of the unrealized aspirations among black women, advertisers should be careful not to over promise them. Third, their sopping patterns suggest that advertising to black omen could stress price and value. Finally, this group appears to be a promising market for home cleaning and personal hygiene products.