Cha-Ching! Black folks are getting, more money, more education, and overall more equity and social building assets according to Nielsen’s recently released report "Increasingly Affluent, Educated, and Diverse: African-American Consumers –The Untold Story."
Personally, I didn’t need a report to tell me about my people. However, how many times have we all read stats that painted a disparaging picture of the Black community? Like damn, where are all the stats about my friends and I graduating from college and landing jobs? Crickets.
While statistics do serve a purpose to align budgets for our most at-risk communities, they tend to fuel stereotypes as well. Nielsen’s report is ground-breaking because it tells a different narrative about the Black community driven by quantitative data. In terms of education, 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, according to Nielsen’s report.
Brittany Hogan, MSW ACSW is a St. Louis-based community advocate. She says she is proud of what the Nielsen report revealed, but there's still work to be done.
"In order to increase their chances of creating wealth and hopefully, inter-generational wealth in the future, college is a must," Hogan said. "We as a community are creating higher achievement goals for our youth. For each one, this will look different. Whether it be a certification in a vocational skill, a Bachelor's Degree, Masters or PhD, we are giving them the skill set to think beyond what they see as their own ability to grow and develop. I'm encouraged by the report, and I'm hopeful that we will continue to see an increase of these trends."
Household incomes for African-Americans also saw a spike. Overall, the Black household median increased by 3.5% over the past three years. Additionally, African-Americans’ income growth rates exceeded those of non-Hispanic Whites at every annual household income level above $60,000, according to the report. Black households earning morethan $200,000 saw a 138% income increase from 2005-2013, outpacing the total population by 64%.
So, to put all of that in context, that means more Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, and passport stamps. Yassssssssssss!
Finance expert Rion Mckeithen believes that this could mean big business for high-end retailers.
"This is encouraging news" he said. "With this type of growth, there will likely be significant interest in mid and high-end retailers looking to capture that segment of the market. And we've already started seeing that trend a bit more in media with shows like Scandal and Empire."
African-Americans are also highly engaged in TV and other digital media. Black adults 18 and over spend more time on nearly all digital sources than the total population including:
– TV, 42% more
– PCs, 13% more
– Smartphones, 15%
– Radio 4%
According to the report, African-Americans earning more than $100,000 are more willing to pay extra for a product that is reflective of the image they want to convey.
Don't think for a second this is going to go unnoticed by major brands and agencies looking to cash into this highly engaged group of potential African American spenders.
If you cross-reference this data with another Nielsen insight revealing that African-Americans making $50,000-$75,000 annually are 96% more likely than their non-Hispanic, non-white counterparts to consider purchasing a product that is endorsed by a celebrity, what do you get? Potentially, you get more Black celebrities in ads, commercials, TV shows, and movies. Expect to see more Keyshias talking about BMWs and more Tyrones endorsing Frescas.
Outside of education and income growth rates, the Black community brings social media capital. While hilarious, Black Twitter has been and continues to be at the forefront of a multitude of Black issues, forcing the general market to pay attention. It was Black Twitter that stopped the book release of George Zimmerman's trial juror B-37.
To the backdrop of what's currently going on in the world, this is empowering news. Too long has the blanket scope that Black people are lagging behind the rest, dependent on the government, and overall just aren’t doing well existed. Nielsen's report shares the often overlooked story of the Black community's mobility, success, and power – an economy of its own.
Now, say it with me – Blackonomy!
Terrence Chappell surfaced on Chicago's media scene as "UR Chicago Magazine Online's" fashion editor. Since then, he has worked and contributed to various media outlets such as "Michigan Ave. Magazine," "CS Magazine," and "The Men's Book." Currently, Terrence serves as editor-at-large for ChicagoPride.com, the city's largest LGBT entertainment and news website where he writes "Chappell Confidential," a nightlife and society column. Terrence also heads "Chappell on Community," the site's newest editorial monthly series that profiles the LGBT community's most innovative leaders.