June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Continuing Professional Development
The United States of America is undergoing, and will continue to undergo, a demographic transformation the likes of which have never been experienced in this great Nation. The demographic changes which surfaced in the literature and became more pronounced around 2008, are now at the precipice of tectonic change, and its impact on higher education is already being felt.
Three major events will take place over the upcoming decade. Each of which, by itself, may appear relatively harmless and unnoticed. Together these three transformative changes paint a forever changing face of the demographics of the U.S. The impact of these three primary drivers of demographic change are already being felt in the hallowed halls of higher education. Colleges and universities are scrambling to accommodate these, still to be fully understood, major impacts.
The first of these three major changes is the “graying” of America. The last of the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, will turn 65+ years of age in 2030. This is particularly significant because of the financial impacts on social services and safety nets currently enacted into law in support of a generally aging population.
The second of the three major changes is the marked cross-over (2035) where the number of people 65+ years of age outnumber the youths under the age of 18. The manifestation of this cross-over resides in the number of working age individuals for every aged dependency. When youth dependency, those aged under the age of 18, is added to the older-aged dependency, the net effect is a total dependency where there are two dependents for every three working age adults. This cross-over as well represents what has been termed the new minority majority of America; where the non-Hispanic White population becomes the minority overall population for the first time in U.S. history.
The third, and final, of the three major demographic changes is the recognition that the primary driver for population growth in the U.S. will be from international migration. Not because of an increase in international migration, but because of an aging natural population and a declining birth rate of same. The new demographic of the United States has had a negative impact on enrollments in higher education. New minority populations are not equally prepared, financially or otherwise, to participate in higher education as the current non-Hispanic white majority population. To this end, 25 years of researched literature materializes into multiple changes currently being implemented by institutions of higher education to accommodate this new minority majority population.
This paper extracts from the literature the most recent current demographic changes, the impact of these changes on the enrollments in higher education, and, the response of colleges and universities to these rapidly changing American demographic realities.
Springer, M. L., & Newton, K. (2019, June), Changing U.S. Age, Racial, and Ethnic Demographics and Its Impact on Higher Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32504
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015