Demographic Differences

Consider these questions for a moment: Have your outlook and attitude toward politics and culture changed over the years? Or are you the same as always? If you were a conservative young adult, do you hold the same beliefs today? If you were a rebel as a youngster, are you still? Or have you mellowed with age?

The study of generational cohorts gives researchers a better understanding of what influences us as we age. What are the factors that influence our beliefs — parents, education, religion, career path, life experiences or opportunities to travel? Also, how much impact do the economy and social politics have? For example, millennials who saw their parents lose jobs, and even homes, during the economic recession that began in December 2007 may have a different view of the world than they would have if the recession had not been so severe.

We do change as we grow older. And certainly, our financial picture changes to reflect our needs, our wants and our goals. As you reflect on what you were like in the past and where you’re headed in the future, feel free to give us a call to discuss ways to create a retirement income plan that can help support the path you’re on now.

For the sake of generational research, think tank Pew Research Center has declared the end of an era. It has officially determined the last birth year for millennials as 1996. Pew defines millennials as anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22-37 in 2018) for its future work. People born starting in 1997 onward are considered members of a new generation.1

A lot has changed. Post-millennials are growing up in a time when social media, constant connectivity and on-demand entertainment are taken for granted. Most baby boomers (born from 1946 to 1964) will likely remember when television was still black and white, Generation X (born from 1965 to 1980) grew up with Blockbuster Video stores and Millennials embraced the age of smartphones and computer games.

This increased exposure to technology stratifies generations in ways you might expect. For example, among people who pay for their news sources, those over age 65 are five times more likely to buy a print edition rather than digital (72 percent vs. 14 percent).2

This preference carries over to reading books as well. Within the age 65+ demographic, 63 percent have read a print book in the past year, 15 percent have read an e-book and 12 percent have listened to an audiobook. Among the 18- to 29-year-old set, those numbers are 75 percent, 34 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Young adults are not abandoning books, they are simply diversifying the way they read.3

Here’s another interesting divide that seems a departure from years gone by. It’s a common perception that as we grow older, we develop healthier eating habits. Not so much anymore. Today’s millennials are very well attuned to healthy living habits. As a demographic, they smoke less, are more conscious of their diet and exercise more than previous generations at that age.4

There’s also a growing discrepancy between young and old when it comes to political beliefs. Among the “silent generation” (those born from 1928 to 1945), 52 percent lean Republican versus 43 percent Democrat. Baby boomers are pretty evenly split at 46 percent GOP and 48 percent Democrat. Millennials, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly more liberal than previous generations, with 59 percent Democrat and 32 percent Republican.5

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 Michael Dimock. Pew Research Center. March 1, 2018. “Defining generations: Where Millennials end and post-Millennials begin.” Accessed March 29, 2018.

2 American Press Institute. May 2, 2017. “Print vs. digital subscribers: Demographic differences and paths to subscription.” Accessed March 29, 2018.

3 Andrew Perrin. Pew Research Center. March 8, 2018. “Nearly one-in-five Americans now listen to audiobooks.” Accessed March 29, 2018.

4 A.T. Kearney. “Demographic Shifts.” Accessed March 29, 2018.

5 Reid Wilson. The Hill. March 20, 2018. “Demographic gaps between parties widen.” Accessed March 29, 2018.

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