The Study of Demography

Beginning a week of thoughts about demographic data

As of March 1, 2013, the United States had a total resident population of 315,464,000, making it the third most populous country in the world.

Demography is popularly defined as the study of population statistics.

We care about and study demography to prepare for the needs of various cohort groups as the groups move through life. Business leaders study demographics to forecast market size and definitions to understand future needs.

The Census Bureau projects a U.S. population of 439 million in 2050, which is a 46% increase from 2007 (301.3 million).
The total fertility rate in the United States estimated for 2011 is 1.89 children per woman, which is below the replacement fertility rate of approximately 2.1.

A marketer responds to this data set with a trend-thought that women aren’t having as many children. We then begin to interpret the data and conclude things such as “the econonmy is pushing young marrieds to wait longer to add to their nest.”

We could also suggest that Gerber Baby Foods prepare for a slump. Gerber officials would search deeper into demographic databases…

There are approximately 4 million childen in the U. S. under the age of 1 year. Trend data suggests the pool of toddlers is declining slightly and continue to do so. We could also anchor data toward unemployment rates and home foreclosures.



It’s been my observation for many years, that business owners are lacking in an understanding of cohorts of the impact of demographics upon market potential.

The 4 million children under 1 year old are certainly primed to purchase their way through life. If we continue to add 4 million babies to a database for 5 years… we can view the “under 5s” as a cohort we can then label in some cute descriptor such as “20TEENS.” Born between 2013 and 2018, the cohort of approximatley 20 million diaper dandies, will be on a buying binge that we can predict with reasonable accuracy for many years.

Demographic data fit together in jigsaw puzzle pieces. Sometimes there is not a picture on the box cover to help us see how all the pieces fit together.

The more we study demographics, the clearer and more predictive the picture becomes.
NOTE: Click on this link to find data mined by our tax dollar and rich with demographic descriptors.


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