Dr. Mitchell L. Springer
The Changing Face of U.S. Demographics: Personal and Professional Implications
The demographic face of the United States is changing in a major tectonic manner never before seen. The next decade will witness the culmination of three major forces: (1) the last of the Baby Boomers turning 65+ years of age (2030), (2) the cross-over where the number of people 65+ years of age outnumber the youths under the age of 18 (2035), and, (3) the recognition that the primary driver for population growth in the U.S. will be from international migration (2030). These three major events will take place over the upcoming decade. Each of which, by itself, may appear relatively harmless and unnoticed. Together these three transformative changes paint a forever changing face of the demographics of the United States. The impact of these three primary drivers of demographic change are already being felt in the faces and diversity ratios in higher education. Colleges and universities are scrambling to accommodate these, still to be fully understood, tectonic shifts. The new demographic of the United States has had a negative impact on enrollments in higher education. New minority populations are not equally prepared, financially or otherwise, to participate in higher education as the current non-Hispanic White majority population. To this end, 25 years of researched literature materializes into multiple changes currently being implemented by institutions of higher education to accommodate this new minority majority population. Additionally, the new student population, reflecting the most diversity of any previous population, is now the predominance of those students in college today. Their beliefs, attitudes and needs are different from any previous demographic cohort to enter college; all of this due in large part to the overall changing social-economics and demographics of the U.S. This paper, will overview three already happening changes, the likes of which have never been experienced or seen in the history of the United States: namely (1) the new efficiency and cost consciousness in higher education, (2) the cultural implications in recognition and acceptance of these new racial and ethnic changes, and (3) the new face of the student body and the implications suggested therein. In the final analysis, this paper recognizes the many potential, highly charged and emotional implications of changing demographics. It concludes with potential solutions for culturally adjusting to this new American demographic reality.