If you look at most of the headlines about blacks in America, you’ll see a barrage of sad stories dominated by news about pay gaps, wealth gaps, and all sorts of pieces that, it can be argued, take a simplified look at what’s really going on in black America.
While the scars of history are still evident in the forms of racism, discrimination, and things like higher unemployment rates than other groups, it is imperative that we look at what’s percolating beneath the surface, and where we are on our evolutionary path.
“When black consumers see how much power they have, it will change the way African Americans look at themselves, and allow them to realize what an economic power they have become,” says Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president of Global Communications at Nielsen.
“They have the power to drive the products and services that come into their lives and come into their communities,” he adds.
A study by Nielsen, upends many of the stereotypes that come with the national focus on just the socioeconomic challenges of blacks. Some of the key findings of the report:
- African American income growth rates outpaced those of non-Hispanic whites at every annual household income level above $60,000.
- The largest increase for African American households occurred in the number of households earning over $200,000, with an increase of 138%, compared with a total population increase of 74%.
- The rate of black high school graduates enrolled in college increased in 2014 to 70.9%, exceeding the rate of all high school graduates in the nation.
“The size and influence of affluent African Americans is growing faster than that of non-Hispanic whites across all income segments, and the impact is being felt across industries,” said Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen.
“These larger incomes are attributed to a number of factors, including youthfulness, immigration, historic educational attainment, and constant, relevant dialogue across various social media channels that have an impact on African American decisions as brand loyalists and ambassadors. Savvy marketers are taking notice,” she adds.
Taking notice and dealing with the new realities of what it means to be black in America.