Getting Ready for the New America

lfrederick@cahners.com Have you noticed how the country is changing? From California to Maine you’ll find Korean greengrocers, Latino radio stations, Middle Eastern restaurants, and lively enclaves of immigrants from such exotic locales as Russia, Bosnia, and Paraguay. Big cities used to be our melting pots, but now the demographic mix is spilling into suburbs and towns across the land. I bring this up because I was thinking about what challenges retailers will be facing in the new century, now just a few days off. Surely one of the most inescapable will be America’s astounding cultural complexity. In 1950, the nation was 85% non-Hispanic white. Today that proportion has shrunk to 73%, and our racial composition is diversifying more rapidly than ever. The influx of immigrants is the largest in any period since World War II. Nearly one-tenth of the population is foreign-
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