Demographic timebomb keeps ticking: more people in Europe are dying than are being born

Europe’s long, slow demographic suicide continues. A new study from a Texas A&M demographer confirms that more people in Europe are dying, than are being born.

According to the study, 58% of the counties in Europe has more deaths than births, compared to just 28% of the counties in the USA.

This places even more pressure on Europe’s strained finances, which are already unable to cope with pension and health care requirements as the population ages. It also places into an interesting context the current controversy over immigration and refugees. Some observers believe the real reason Germany’s Angela Merkel is so keen on admitting refugees is that Germany needs young workers.

It’s come to this: USC holds “Consent Carnival” to reach students how to kiss someone without sexually assaulting them

In case you thought the infantilization of Millennials at universities hasn’t yet peaked, check out this story about the Consent Carnival at the University of Southern California.

Apparently the university’s “affirmative consent” standards for sex are sufficiently complex that they require special training. Thus, the Consent Carnival and its kissing booth (I’m not kidding), where students can learn to master the five-point checklist for kissing someone without actually assaulting them.

Whoever thought that universities would become just an extension of Gymboree?

You can’t make this stuff up: nearly 10% of US college grads think Judge Judy is on Supreme Court

A couple of days ago I highlighted a fairly lengthy and very thoughtful report from The Atlantic about when people become adults. Now this.

Nearly 10 percent of college grads think Judge Judy is on Supreme Court

Graduates, no less.  Yikes.

When do you become an adult? Many answers in Atlantic article – and all of them undermine our age-driven thinking

As I’ve written in Beyond Age Rage, the intensity in the “war of the generations” is driven largely  by unmet demands and expectations.

Certain milestones of adulthood — marriage, first kids, first job — are supposed to happen by a certain age. When they don’t, there is criticism and blame from the older generations, and resentment and excuse-making from the younger. The Boomers (me included) make free with “when I was your age…” scolding, and the Millennials, who are not hitting the milestones “on schedule,” react with a whole arsenal of weapons, from irony and indifference to angry pushback (it’s all the fault of the greedy Boomers who won’t die off and unclutter the stage).

But all of this presupposes some kind of agreed-upon schedule of adulthood — markers plus a timetable. The consensus around this schedule informs most social commentary, government policy-making and, certainly, marketing and media-buying.

But what if  the whole construct is bogus?

A provocative article in The Atlantic argues for a much broader and more plastic definition of adulthood.  Most interestingly, for me, it points out  that the benchmarks that are causing so much inter-generational conflict today are themselves very recent — and limited — in history. These benchmarks — the age by which certain things are supposed to have happened — attached primarily to the post-war Baby Boomer generation; they were not nearly as widespread or entrenched in previous generations. The author, Julie Beck, describes them, collectively, as the Leave It To Beaver definition of adulthood. And it’s a totally inadequate way to understand what’s really going on now.

The article provides one more proof that policy-makers and marketers are wrong to use age as the primary tool of measurement in assessing status and behavior. There are many components to adulthood, and many way-stations in status. The rigidity of pursuing, to use a media-buying example, “adults 25-49,” inhibits our understanding of what is really going on out there and how we can best respond to it.

Essential reading!




It’s come to this: at Occidental College, saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes could be a “microaggression”

Reason TV visited Occidental College to find out what exactly constitutes a “microaggression.”

Aside from how scary it is that such an exercise could even be considered necessary on a  campus today, the results are both hilarious and depressing.

Imagine some of these folks — $100,000+ and a BA later — applying to you for a job…


Forget the Millennials — it’s the Boomers who will control the future of housing

The Millennials are numerically the largest generation, having finally overtaken the Boomers, and there’s a huge amount of anxiety (and media coverage) of the housing crunch they face, and how they might deal with it. A shockingly high percentage still live, as adults, with their parents. And what underemployment, the burden of  college debts, and firming (if not rising) house prices, there are understandable worries about the impact of the Millennials’ housing choices on the housing market, and indeed the entire economy.

But a new report from Freddie Mac, outlined by Mortgage News Daily online, suggests we forget about the Millennials for a moment, because it’s the Boomers who really control the fate of the housing market.

There are three reasons:

  1. The 55+ age group controls about two thirds of all primary residence equity;
  2. They will account for more than half of the growth in the number of households between 2010 and 220;
  3. They have a number of critical decisions to make about their future housing needs, and those decisions will drive everything else.

From the report:

Freddie Mac says there are some significant issues regarding decisions of the over 55 age group.  Among these are:

  • Their future housing plans. Will more of them age in place or downsize? How will that decision affect housing supply and prices? How will the prospect of longer lifespans affect those decisions? Are they responsible for dependents – children or parents – for longer than they anticipated? Are their plans affected by other family members’ geographic locations?
  • How did the Great Recession impact this group? How greatly were retirements delayed because of financial set-backs? Did the recession have different impacts on the already retired as opposed to the not-quite retired?
  • Does this generation need better information about their housing alternatives? How well do they understand their financial situation? Is age appropriate housing counseling readily available? How well are affordable housing needs being addressed for this age group?
  • How will the 55+ group manage their housing wealth?
  • How is the construction industry adapting to the growth in 55+ households?

We’ve already seen how the actions of the Boomers — i.e., continuing to work pas the traditional retirement age of 65 — are affecting the Millennials in the job market. Now the same thing is going to happen in housing. We really are in an era of intergenerational action, reaction, and dependency.


Source: Baby Boomers Control Housing Market Fate