Demographic Transformations: Dramas in Slow Motion

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Next America

April 10, 2014; Pew Research

Demographics and the public discourse around them have everything to do with our work in nonprofits and philanthropy. Who considers President Obama to be black and who considers him to be of mixed race? How does the slow-motion change in racial demographics look across time? What will age distribution look like in this country in ten or fifteen years? All this and more is available at your fingertips.

There are two reasons why you might want to take a look at Pew Research’s depiction of demographic changes over the last few generations in America:

  1. This is one of the most beautifully executed yet content rich interactive posts we have seen; and
  2. If you are interested in viewing demographics from the angle of social trends and attitudes particularly where race and ethnicity is concerned, this post is unusually effective and thought provoking.

The post is published in concert with Paul Taylor’s new book, The Next America. In his intro to the post, Taylor explains, “Demographic transformations are dramas in slow motion. America is in the midst of two right now. Our population is becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Each of these shifts would by itself be the defining demographic story of its era. The fact that both are unfolding simultaneously has generated big generation gaps that will put stress on our politics, families, pocketbooks, entitlement programs and social cohesion.”—Ruth McCambridge