The old line that "70%-80% of Hip Hop fans are White" originated from data gathered by Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI). They gathered the data for magazines like Vibe and the numbers have been passed around ever since.
But new research is showing that some of the people classified as "White" may not have been so "White" after all. MRI was using a small set of racial classifications in their old studies. Now they have a larger set inspired by new stardards used by the Census Bureau. People that respond to MRI surveys can now select more than one of a larger set of race classifications for themselves, instead of MRI picking from a small set for them.
The results of their fall 2004 research shows that 60% of Hip Hop buyers are White. While 78% of Americans identify themselves as being White.
These new details were reported in an article titled Is the Conventional Wisdom Correct In Measuring Hip-Hop Audience? at WSJ.com by Carl Bialik.