Consumption Habits of Blacks
African-Americans constitute the largest racial minority group in America, with a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015, and they remain at the forefront of social trends and media consumption, according to The Nielsen Co.’s report “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012.” The report is the second of three annual installments in Nielsen’s collaboration with the National Newspaper Publishers Association. In addition to their buying and viewing habits, it highlights how African-American consumers can wield their collective spending power to bring additional economic resources or more customized product offerings to their communities. At the same time, it maps out the disparity in advertising dollars spent with African-American media, suggesting a need for more fair methods of administering advertising spending in order to better reflect and align with Blacks’ preferences and the media environment’s most trusted by Black consumers.
Fewer Doctor Visits
In 2010, working-age adults made an average of 3.9 visits to doctors, nurses or other medical providers, down from 4.8 in 2001, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s newly released report “Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010.” Among those with at least one such visit, the average number of visits also declined, from 6.4 to 5.4 over the period. According to the report, nearly two in three (66 percent) reported their health as being either “excellent” or “very good.” Another 24 percent said their health was “good,” while 8 percent described it as “fair” and 2 percent as “poor.” Non-Hispanic Blacks were more likely to consider their health to be fair or poor (13 percent) than non-Hispanic whites (10 percent) or Hispanics (9 percent). Hispanics were the least likely racial or ethnic group to see a medical provider, as 42 percent never visited one during the year, and women were more likely than men to have visited a medical provider during the year (78 percent compared with 67 percent).
Black College Grads Disciplined Financial Planners
Young African-American college graduates say they are much more serious about reaching financial goals than previous generations, according to new research from the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Among 18- to 34-year-old African-American college graduates, 70 percent described themselves as either “disciplined” or “highly disciplined” financial planners, compared to only 47 percent of those aged 35 and older. However, African-American college graduates 55 years and older were far more likely than those aged 18 to 34 to report having plans in place to prepare them financially to live to age 95 (40 percent vs. 9 percent, respectively). Overall, 41 percent of African-American college graduates felt financially prepared to live to age 75, while about 27 percent were prepared to live to age 95.
Urban Tech’s Fundraising Campaign
The National Urban Technology Center Inc., or Urban Tech, a not-for-profit educational corporation, launched a massive fundraising effort via Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com/urbantech) to meet its goal of providing 2,000 at-risk students in 20 schools across the country the necessary training and skills to achieve and succeed in school and after graduation. Urban Tech’s flagship program, The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), an online, multimedia curriculum, currently reaches more than 8,000 students aged six to 16. Contributions will help to expand the YLA program; train teachers and parents to engage their students, improve social skills, encourage academic performance and prepare them for college and careers; work with school administrators to create a climate that supports positive behavior and hope; and develop the next generation of YLA for mobile applications.
RLJ Entertainment Inc. Is Born
The RLJ Companies, whose chairman, Robert L. Johnson, is the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), said it acquired media content distributors Image Enter-tainment Inc. and Acorn Media Group Inc. to create RLJ Entertainment Inc., one of the largest independent global distributors of digital and video content. Shares of RLJ Entertainment common stock will be traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the stock ticker symbol RLJE. RLJ Entertainment warrants will be traded on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board. RLJ Entertainment is the third company Johnson has taken public. BET went public in 1991, becoming the first African-American company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and RLJ Lodging Trust, a $2 billion market cap hotel REIT with 144 hotels, which Johnson co-founded with CEO Thomas Baltimore, went public in May of 2011.
Waning Interest in STEM Careers
In an online survey of ninth- to 12th-grade students conducted in April by Harris Interactive on behalf of the University of the Sciences, 51 percent said they were definitely or probably not considering a career in science or health care. Even more disconcerting is the increase in lack of interest from African-American students, who are already tremendously underrepresented in the STEM workforce. The 51 percent represents a 4.1 percent increase over last year’s survey. The largest group contributing to this percentage is African-Americans, with 61 percent of respondents declaring they are not interested in pursuing careers in health care and the sciences. Hispanic students are at 42 percent. Reasons for the disinterest include lack of confidence in aptitude for such subjects; lack of knowledge about STEM careers; and the high cost of education for STEM degrees.
A Military Mind for Global Business
In a bow to advocates of using military expertise in global business strategies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Africa Business Initiative named Gen. James L. Jones, former United States National Security Advisor and retired United States Marine Corps General, as its honorary chairman. The initiative seeks to engage the U.S. business community on legislative policies that foster foreign direct investment in Africa, to facilitate U.S.-Africa trade and to introduce U.S. companies to the continent’s economic opportunities. Scott Eisner, the chamber’s vice president of African Affairs and International Operations, explained the general’s appointment: “General Jones offers decades of experience in navigating foreign policy, national security, and trade relations from the highest levels of both the public and private sectors. Some of the biggest obstacles that American companies face in economic engagement with African countries are the unknown and perceived risks. General Jones’ global vision and expertise will help the ABI overcome those obstacles.”