National Geographic recently published statistics stating that for the first time in recorded history, there will be more people in the world over the age of 65 (16%) than under the age of 5 (6%). Our youth-centric focus is becoming increasingly blurred. The Center Consulting Group staff put together the chart below to show the demographic age shifts here in the U.S. Since 1930, the population age 44 and younger has declined 18%, and it has declined 11% just in the past 30 years. This trend is already impacting a number of important areas including healthcare, availability of employees, education, housing, and spiritual outreach, to name a few.
Think about this trend and how it might impact your organization. Here are just a few areas to consider:
Employers will need to better utilize an older workforce. This is already happening since people are living longer and are less financially prepared for retirement. This is compounded by the fact that there are not enough young people available to fill certain positions.
The tsunami has already hit education and will only continue. Last year, one-third of private colleges saw a decline in tuition revenue which was a significant increase from five years ago where only 15% saw a decline, according to Moody’s Investors Service. There are too many schools and colleges compared to the number of young people available to fill the seats. We will continue to see increasing mergers and closures.
Health care will continue to increase in expense due to more people in the older age groups. People are living longer which means increasing amounts of care needed for the illnesses and diseases that come with age.
Over the past fifty years, the church has placed a heavy emphasis on reaching the next generation. This has been important since younger people were historically more open to the Christian message of hope, purpose, and forgiveness. But in the coming years, there will be fewer children to fill classes and youth ministries, and a growing number of senior adults will be seeking a place to address their unique needs and interests. In the future, this will likely have an impact on how churches do music, build buildings, and hire staff.
Questions to consider:
What will your organization or church look like in 15 years and how can you begin to think and act strategically about these changes now rather than poorly reacting to them later on?
How can you ensure your organization has a purposeful and sustainable strategy for the future in light of the aging population?
Our experienced consultants can help you think through how the aging population will affect your organization and can assist you in creating a sustainable strategy for the future. Contact us to learn more!
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.