01 July 2018

Trends Worth Watching

Here are 10 U.S. and global demographic trends that may be of interest to you:

1. Millennials are projected to be the U.S.'s largest living adult generation in 2019. More than Baby Boomers. millennials are already the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, making up 35% of the total

2. Americans are more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past. The U.S. is projected to be even more varied in the coming decades. By 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. 

3. Americans' lives at home are changing. After a decades-long trend, just half of U.S. adults were married in 2015, down from 70% in 1950. Moreover, with marriage in decline, cohabitation is increasing, with the most significant gains among those ages 50 and older--doubling between 1990 and 2015.

4. Changing household structures. A record number of Americans (nearly 61 million) were living in multi-generational households, including two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren.

5. America's demographic changes are shifting the electorate – and American politics. The 2016 electorate was the most diverse in U.S. history due to strong growth among Hispanic eligible voters, particularly U.S.-born youth.

6. The share of Americans who live in middle-class households is shrinkingU.S. adults living in middle-income families fell to 50% in 2015, after more than four decades in which those households served as the nation's economic majority.

7. Christians are declining as a share of the U.S. population. And the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion has grown. So while the U.S. remains home to more Christians than any other country, the percentage of Americans identifying as Christians dropped from 78% in 2007 to 71% in 2014. 

By contrast, the religiously unaffiliated have surged seven percentage points in that period to make up 23% of U.S. adults last year. This trend has primarily been driven by millennials, 35% of whom are religious "nones." 

8. The world is aging. The demographic future for the U.S. and beyond looks very different than the recent past. Growth from 1950 to 2010 was rapid — the global population nearly tripled to 7.6 billion. However, population growth from 2010 to 2050 is projected to be significantly slower and is expected to tilt strongly to the oldest age groups globally and in the U.S. 

9. U.S. population is still growing. The latest estimates show 325.7 million as of 2017. That's up from 308.7 million in 2010. The Wall Street Journal reports a "lull in the U.S. birth rate since the 2007-2009 recession. As a result, the country now relies on immigrants, typically young adults, to slow its aging."

10. More years in retirement. As longevity rises over time, people spend more time in retirement. Between 1962 and 2010, the average time spent in retirement rose by five years (from 10 to 15 years). As a result, life expectancy increased by eight years. By 2050 the years in retirement are projected to reach 20.  


Pew Research Center; U. S. Census Bureau; The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine; and Compassion International 


(C) Bredholt & Co.