The Super Bowl of Marketing Isn’t this Weekend, It’s in a Year

When it comes to Super Bowl ads, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning — I look forward to them every year. I’ve blogged about them five years in a row. But the real Super Bowl of Marketing isn’t until 2020, and I’m even more excited about it than the Big Game.

The US Census is the single most important event in the field of Marketing, but it only happens every ten years. Luckily for us, it happens again in 2020.

The Census is required by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The data collected determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. For Marketers, the Census is our chance to look at demographic trends without needing to use a sample of data. In other words, census data are the single source of truth — no sample set required!

As Secretary of State in 1790, Thomas Jefferson oversaw the first Census. James Madison wrote five of the six questions it asked. That’s when the population of the US hadn’t reached 4 million people yet. In 2020, the US population will exceed 328 million people.

Today, the Census continues to take place every ten years. Every year in between, the Census Bureau produces projections on how the data has changed. Of course, we can check their accuracy every ten years.

Trends I’m Following
The US Census website is full of fantastic data visualizations that are worth exploring. Here are the three trends that I’m following most closely for 2020:

  1. Will the population of Illinois continue to decrease?
    Only three states have lost permanent residents since 2010: Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia. Texas and Utah have seen the highest growth rates since 2010.

    I’ll be watching to see the change in state population numbers between 2010 and 2020.
  2. Have poverty rates changed?
    Nearly 15% of the US population lives below the poverty line. An estimated 20% of children under the age of 18 live in poverty.

    Think about that — one in five kids in this country lives below the poverty line.

    This year, a four-member household is considered poor if their combined income is lower than $25,750. For a single-person household, it’s $12,490.

    In Todd County, South Dakota, 52% of its 10,000 people are poor. Compare that to Kings county, New York, in which 22% of its 2.6 million residents are poor.

    Have the rich gotten richer and the poor gotten poorer? The 2020 Census will tell us definitively.
  3. Will the gap close between home broadband connections and individuals with cellular data plans?
    An estimated 78% of households have a broadband Internet subscription. I don’t think that number can go much higher. But only 49% of households have a cellular data plan.

    Will the gap between these numbers close? Will households drop their home subscriptions in favor of cell plans? We’ll find out next year.
Add This to Your To-Do List
What are you hoping to learn from next year’s census? Head over to the US Census Bureau’s website for an awesome look into the residents of our great nation.

There’s never a lack of ideas.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


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