Monday, August 22, 2011

Whatever happened to American Demographics?

That was such a great magazine!

Often, when our customers learn that Paramount Market Publishing was founded by former staff members of American Demographics,  Jim Madden and Doris Walsh, they will ask, Whatever happened to the magazine? Although it is no longer published as a separate magazine, some content and the name was incorporated into Advertising Age. The two covers you see in this blog were drawn by Tom Parker (and you see the self-portrait), who illustrated the covers for many years.

Last week, Cheryl Russell, the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine was quoted extensively in a USA Today update on what we have learned from the 2010 Census. The article begins with the following summary:

"The USA is bigger, older, more Hispanic and Asian and less wedded to marriage and traditional families than it was in 1990. It also is less enamored of kids, more embracing of several generations living under one roof, more inclusive of same-sex couples, more cognizant of multiracial identities, more suburban, less rural and leaning more to the South and West."

"It was always predicted that we would be diverse, but it's happened faster than anyone predicted," says Cheryl Russell, former editor in chief of American Demographics magazine, now editorial director of New Strategist Publications, publisher of reference tools. "Diversity and the rapid growth in diversity is one of the reasons we have a black president today. That's one thing that would never have been predicted."

Read more here about How America Changed

 And you really can't talk about American Demographics without mentioning Peter Francese,  Founder and President of American Demographics, Inc. Peter now lives and works in New Hampshire and continues to be a widely recognized demographics and consumer markets expert. He speaks and writes frequently on demographic and consumer trends. Earlier this year, Peter helped PMP author Pamela Danziger flesh out a demographic profile of luxury market consumers for her new book Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury.

"It is necessary for anyone who is marketing consumer products in America to figure out what are the faster-growing segments; what are the wealthier segments; what are the segments that buy more of my product than average; where are these people and what are they like?'s easy to get mired down in the technicalities and forget about the fact that real people have to go out and spend real money to buy what you are selling. And if you expect them to do more of that in future years, you've go to learn who they are. It's nothing more complicated than that." 

Read more about the book: Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury  


  1. I wrote for American Demographics towards the end of its life (last six months) and still get that question fairly frequently. It's amazing since it was put to bed in 2004.

  2. No kidding 2004. And I still have old copies. That mag was the best for conversation starters. Made me feel so smart! 9 years ago eh? Damn time flies.

  3. It was a great tool. Michael, you are right. It was a huge conversation starter. As a sports marketer, it really set me a part to be able to reference AD. RIP!

  4. Just today at lunch my husband and I were bemoaning the lack of a single website or even blog that contains the type and style of material from American Demographics. Here we are, 10 years later, still missing it. Never have found anything to replace it.

  5. American Demographics was one of my favorite resources when I worked on the Universal (later New York Times) Almanac. It came up at dinner last night, and today I'm sorry to learn of its demise. Wonderful portraits of the country—and there is nothing else like it.

  6. Who was the illustrator for many of the covers?

  7. Ditto, to all the people of like kind. This was one of the best publications out there.