8 Demographic Categories You Might Fall In

Are you a demographic?

Demographic is a word that means "the classification of people for statistical purposes, such as by age, race, gender, or income." Advertisers often use demographics to target consumers. Similarly, pollsters and politicians use demographics to identify voting patterns.

Because of these categorizations, various names have popped up to describe people who have similar characteristics and beliefs. Can data pigeonhole you? You could be a soccer mom or a tree-hugger without even knowing it . . . .

Soccer mom

During the 1996 presidential election, the definition of a soccer mom changed. It went from meaning any woman who rooted for her kids as they played the game to a stereotype. Today, soccer mom is a shortcut for white, married, middle-class, suburban women who are busy, who drive minivans, and who are swing voters. This means they have no allegiance to any political party so their decisions can determine the outcome of an election.

The term became popular after it was used in a Washington Post article that questioned whether suburban white women who had backed George H.W. Bush (Republican) four years earlier might support Bill Clinton (Democrat).

Tree-hugger

Tree-hugger is a derogatory term for an environmentalist who wants to protect the world from pollution and other threats, especially someone who believes trees and other living things should not be cut down or harmed.

The term dates back to 1730, when 294 men and 69 women belonging to the Bishnois branch of Hinduism died while trying to protect the trees in their village from being turned into the raw material used for building a palace. They literally clung to the trees while they were slaughtered. Their actions led to a royal decree prohibiting the cutting of trees in any Bishnoi village.

Today, tree-huggers are people who believe in climate change, promote sustainability, support local farmers, and are concerned about President Trump’s agenda, which promotes coal over clean energy and eliminates protected parklands.

Joe Sixpack

Joe Sixpack is slang for a blue-collar, beer-drinking (beer is traditionally an “everyman’s” alcoholic beverage) American. It’s a variation of the many “Joe” terms used to describe average Americans, including ordinary Joe, Joe Blow, Joe Lunchbucket, and Joe Schmo. (Fun fact: The American Beer Museum says the term six-pack, or "a half-dozen bottles or cans," dates to the late 1940s or early 1950s when to-go packaging appeared.)

Sarah Palin, who was running for vice-president in 2008, popularized the term when she said: “It’s time that normal Joe Sixpack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency, and I think that that’s kind of taken some people off guard . . . but it’s motivation for John McCain and I to work that much harder to . . . put government back on the side of the people of Joe Sixpack like me.”

Using the term is a way for politicians to seem relatable. Very clever.

Walmart mom

In 2008, pollsters identified a crucial bloc of swing voters they called Walmart moms. These are women with children ages 18 or younger who shop at Walmart stores at least once a month. Walmart moms are focused on stretching their budget and juggling the demands of a family.

Pollsters and politicians are interested in Walmart moms because they think about politics pragmatically, asking: "Which candidate or party is going to make life better for my family." Walmart moms make up an estimated 14–17 percent of the electorate.

NASCAR dad

Pollster Celinda Lake, who coined the term NASCAR dad in 2003, describes him as a blue-collar family man who’s been hurt by the economy and has watched jobs get shipped overseas and his brother get shipped out to Iraq. He's also the man who used to be a Democrat and then became a Republican. There are an estimated 45-million NASCAR dads in the United States.

The group got its nickname because they overwhelmingly enjoy watching NASCAR (The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing). And, with more NASCAR dads out of work and at home with their kids, some commercials for consumer goods now promote “dadvertising.” Instead of picturing dad sitting on the couch drinking beer, he’s shown to be more engaged with his children. The times they are a changing.

Anchor baby

Anchor baby is a euphemism for a baby born to an undocumented mother in a country where the baby becomes a citizen at birth. The pejorative term stems from the belief that the birth is planned to facilitate eventual legal residency for the family.

The term appeared in print in 1996, but it became well known during the 2006 debate on immigration. In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 295,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2013, making up 8 percent of the 3.9 million US births that year.

As politicians debate immigration reform, they are forced to remember anchor babies as they develop a policy for families that contain both children who are Americans and parents who lack the authorization to live in the United States.

Bernie bro

Bernie bro is a derogatory term for supporters of 2016 US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Robinson Meyer coined the term in an October 2015 article in The Atlantic. His story was shared 28,000 times on Facebook, bringing the term to public attention. He spells it “Berniebro.”

In a follow-up story to reclaim the term, he wrote: “I coined the term ‘Berniebro” to describe a phenomenon I saw on Facebook: Men, mostly my age, mostly of my background, mostly with my political beliefs, were hectoring their friends about how great Bernie was even when their friends wanted to do something else, like talk about the NBA.”

Today, Bernie bro is a gender-neutral term that refers to an insufferable, self-righteous, left-wing activist.

Birther

A birther is someone who believes in the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States, so he was ineligible to be president.

Rumors began to circulate in 2008 that Obama was born in Kenya and then flown to Hawaii. Obama’s presidential campaign responded by releasing his birth certificate, which was issued by Hawaii. Nevertheless, birthers were still skeptical about Obama’s citizenship.

Donald Trump was a birther before he was a presidential candidate. In 2016, as the Republican Party presidential nominee, Trump said: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.” But in 2017, President Trump renewed the birther conspiracy theory. And, it seems to be relatively easily to renew theories within the birther (and other similar) demographic. These people are easily scared and swayed by advertising that promotes fear.

So, which demographic are you?

Take our Which Demographic Are You? Quiz to find out what category you may fall into without even knowing it!

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