7 March 2006

You can’t understand the future without demographics

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Futurist Andrew Zolli, founder of Z + Partners, reflects in a Fast Company feature on the future demographics of society.

The composition of a society–whether its citizens are old or young, prosperous or declining, rural or urban–shapes every aspect of civic life, from politics, economics, and culture to the kinds of products, services, and businesses that are likely to succeed or fail.

With a huge increase in the number of older consumers [in the US and Europe], entirely new entertainment, culture, and news markets will open up–film, television, books, and Internet sites pitched more to the Matlock set than to the Eminem crowd. Also, older people tend to vote more frequently, and they will wield significant political clout.

The demographic concentration of boomers at the top of the population pyramid, backed by their vast reservoirs of disposable income, represents the next American gold rush. By 2011, the 65-and-over population will be growing faster than the population as a whole in each of the 50 states. The Boomer Binge will have begun.

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