Last week new census data was widely reported including this article in the Boston Globe. The article revealed an unexpectedly more rapid change in US demographics.
While demographers have long expected that the aging white US population would eventually shrink, the rapid change over the past five years, partially attributed to the recession, caught many by surprise. The projections now anticipate that white US population will become a minority by 2045. It seems far off but it really isn’t.
There are a number of ways to consider and understand the implications of these changes including social programs, the future work force, the US economy and our standing in the world. The article considers a number of the issues and certainly there are other challenges that society and design firms need to focus on and respond to.
In the article William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, offers a number of quotes and comments that focus on and underscore the social and economic concerns of like Social Security and Medicare. In regard to the acceleration of the demographic changes, Frey notes some impact of these resulting transitions.
“Today’s racial and ethnic minorities will no longer be dependent on older whites for economic well-being.” He then suggests that the situation might be reversed when he noted the following. “It makes more vivid that ever the fact that we will be reliant on young minorities and immigrants for our future demographic and economic growth.” He takes these thoughts further when he adds “The issues of minorities will hold greater sway than ever before.”
There are many other obvious topics not addressed directly in the article including immigration policy and education. Of these I think these more rapid shift in demographics should be a serious reminder of our efforts regarding educational reform, revised education programs and policy and the required resultant improved achievement and opportunities for all.
Just consider that a five year old entering public school this fall will be reaching an age of serious earning power in 2045 as the demographic tipping point occurs. Given these new predictions it would appear as an excellent reminder that the future welfare of the country is in our hands to change now. It will certainly be in the hands of all the five year olds in 2045.
Can we take heed of this information and resulting challenge and create the appropriate learning environments for all our five year olds?