In This Version:
Signs of the Times
• Patterns and Preferences
• Live and Work
• Health and Well-being
• Other Organizations
The end of any calendar year is a good time to pull together small and seemingly unrelated data and observations and step back and review what this information might have to say about a “BIGGER” picture and potential impacts upon parks and recreation.
Review these “Signs of the Times” with that approach in mind and then check out the January 2008 version of trendSCAN for the MEGA-like trends for the coming few years.
Signs of the Times:
- The demographic divide between African Americans and the rest of U.S. residents is surfacing.
- African Americans compose 13% of the population and represent 49% of the homicide victims; approximately 8,000 African Americans were murdered in 2005, more than twice the number of Americans killed in the Iraq war to this point (U.S. Justice Department report)
- 34% of African American children live in poverty compared to 14% of white children
- 59% of African American 4th graders scored “below basic” on national reading tests compared with 25% of white 4th graders (“Death in the Inner City,” USA Today)
- Less than 3% of the population, approximately 8 million people, are foreign-born residents who have entered the country from 2000 and on. What are some of the factors known about this group?
- Hispanics make up more than half of this population
- A larger percentage of these households (compared to average U.S. resident households) consist of married couples
- Incomes are lower (25.6% families live below the poverty line compared to 10.2% of all Americans)
- Households are larger (3.6 vs. 2.6 people)
- They are younger (27.6 years vs. 36.4 years median age)
- 89.5% speak a language other than English at home; 23.7% speak English “very well” (“Diverse landscape of the newest Americans” USA Today)
- A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that Muslim Americans are quite similar to the rest of the country. There is diversity within the group as approximately two-thirds of Muslim Americans immigrated to this country from 68 other countries around the world. It is estimated that 2.4 million Muslims live in the United States and are mostly middle class, willing to adopt the American way of life, and are more moderate politically than Muslims living in other places in the world. The survey found that 47% of Muslims consider themselves Muslim first and Americans second. This percentage was higher for younger Muslims.
Signs of the Times:
Patterns and Preferences
- What do 59.5% of Americans households have in common? They all have pets! The number of households with pets in the United States has increased over the past five years to a total of 7.6 million households for a total of 26.5 million pets. In 2006, the estimated expenditures on veterinary care was $24.5 billion. (USA Today, 12/11/07)
Please Note: In comparison, the Census Bureau indicates that about 35% of American households have children living in them
- According to findings in the American Sociological Review, the rate of cross-cultural marriages is decreasing. This is due primarily to more recent immigration waves that increases the number of people of like cultures residing in the United States.
- Out of every 100 American 9th graders, 40 will enter college right out of high school and only 18 of those will graduate by the time they turn 25 years of age. The United States currently ranks 12th among the developed nations for number of college graduates they are adding to the work force. (Governing, September 2007)
- A study published in the Population and Development Review found that within a few generations that the use of the Spanish language was gone among most immigrant families. The study specifically found that among 3rd generation Chicanos, 96% prefer to speak English in their home; this pattern holds true even along border areas.
- Currently over 343 million people across the globe use the Internet according to Internet World Stats
- There is a growing group of Americans who consider themselves “guilty environmentalist” as they recycle newspapers and bottles but continue to drive big cars and use plastic bags at the grocery store.
Signs of the Times:
Live and Work
- A recent survey by Monster.com found that more fathers are using benefits related to family demands including the following: fathers with children under 5 who took paternity leave as offered by company, 71% and fathers who adopted flexible work schedules when offered by their company, 71% (2007 Monster.com survey reported in USA Today, 12/11/07)
- Census data analyzed by USA Today reveals that Americans are once again “on the move” relocating across state lines at the highest rates since the 1990s. There are two underlying reasons for this increase: immigrants who originally located in the traditional gateway cities are moving out across the country and the 20-somethings is currently a larger segment of the population and this life stage group has always been more mobile.
- The Economic Mobility Project led by the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at the economic mobility of individuals over time. By comparing the income of childrens’ parents in the 1960s with the income of those children in the late 1990s and early 2000s the following was revealed:
- 42% of the children born into the lowest 20% of income levels still remain in that same level
- only 6% of those children born into families in the bottom fifth income wise made it into the top fifth of income in the United States
- The number of so-called “extreme workers” continues to grow fueled in part by the use of technology that enables people to work nonstop from almost everywhere. There are currently “Workaholics Anonymous” groups in over 20 states including California. A variety of studies were cited for this article in USA Today that included the following information:
- According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, approximately 60% of high earners work 50 or more hours per week; 35% more than 60; and 10% more than 80 hours.
- 90% of men and 87% of women reported finding extreme work stimulating and challenging
- 66% of men and 77% of women indicated it interfered with the ability to maintain a home
- approximately 2/3s of extreme workers felt they would be healthier if they didn’t work so long hours (USA Today, 5/23/07)
Signs of the Times:
Health & Well-being
- Over the past five years, the number of Americans who are considered morbidly obese (more than 100 pounds over a healthy weight) has increased by 2.6 million. (Rand Corporation analysis of government data)
- Medicaid spending, the state and federal health care program for poor residents, increased 10.7% in the first six months of 2007. According to a USA Today analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data, this is the biggest increase since 2001 and puts spending on a pace to reach $330 billion by the end of the year (USA Today, 10/8/07)
- Suicide rates among pre-teen and teen girls in the United States increased 16% between 2003 and 2004 (most current data available). The largest increase, 76%, was found among girls ages 10 to 14 years growing from 56 suicides in 2003 to 94 in 2004. Suicide rates among young people ages 10 to 24 decreased 28.5% between the years 1990 and 2003 with the rate sharply increasing by 8% in one year (2004). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report)
- The Delta Regional Authority, a federally funded economic development agency that spreads over 8 states from southern Illinois to Mississippi, Louisiana, and parts of Missouri, is charged with strengthening an already weak economy in those areas. Since the rate of diabetes is 30% higher in this region than the overall U.S. average, this group is partnering with the Medicaid directors in these areas to tackle the economic impact of diabetes.
It isn’t a strong economy that produces healthy people.
It’s healthy people that produce a strong economy.
Peter Johnson, federal co-chair of the DNR paraphrasing an idea he picked up from Harvard economist, David Bloom
(Governing, March 2007)
Signs of the Times:
- According to NPD group, children ages 5 through 12 spend more leisure time watching TV and movies than playing with toys; 14.9% vs. 9.4%. Between 2005 and 2006, this age group decreased the hours a week watching TV or movies from 13.5 hours to 12 and increased music listening and doing homework by 4% each. However, more than 25% of their time involved multiple activities. (Research Alert, 5/4/07)
- The need for a “man room” is confirmed. Fifty-nine percent of American men ages 21-65 with an average income of $50,000 or higher indicate that it is very important to have a “man cave” in their house. A “man cave” is defined as a space at home where a guy can go to relax. Of the men who already have “man cave” in their house, 67% use it to work on hobbies and 37% to watch movies or sports. The top five amenities for such a getaway include: flat screen TV, 78%; computer, 70%; tool bench, 69%; surround sound, 66%; and a refrigerator, 47%. (Imre Communications, Baltimore, MD)
- During the summer of 2007, almost one-half of California teens (47%) participated in an outdoor, nature activity such as hiking or going to the beach (Public Policy Institute of California)
- Parker Brothers is marketing “20 minutes or less” versions of favorite board games including Monopoly, SORRY, and Scrabble. Talk about fun on the run.
- Evidence of the return to childhood abounds. Wedding couple serve cupcakes instead of cake at receptions. Disney World advertises more to adults than children, The World Adult Kickball Association is flourishing, and the Tag Institute in Kansas. which encourages and supports the game among adults is as well.
- A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that Americans who put in long work days between hours worked and commuting cut back on their sleep time as a way to fit in leisure and other activities (Sleep, 9/1/07)
- 81% of pre-teens and 51% of teens watch “American Idol” with their families. (Research Alert, 5/4/07)
Signs of the Times:
- Some libraries are directing their attention and services to the homeless population in their communities. The San Francisco Library has two part-time people who direct the homeless to community service agencies that may be of help to them. The LA Public Library offered a five day summer camp for homeless children. The Jacksonville Public Library teaches homeless people how to use the Internet to search for jobs, housing, services, etc.
Please Note: Such practices are not standard at all public libraries as there are those who have hygiene standards for visitors, restricted hours of stay, etc.
(USA Today, 6/14/07)
- Some of the most highly regarded colleges and universities have changed their financial aid policies to ease the cost burden for middle class families. Some of the schools include Harvard, Amherst, Williams, Duke, Stanford, Emory. University of Penn, Emory, and others (Project on Student Debt, American Association of American Universities)
- Some McDonalds are trying to reposition themselves particularly in light of recent health concerns. They are introducing activity-oriented features that counteract the “energy in and energy out” theory of weight gain. Such options include electronic basketball games, video dance pads, and even video bikes that provide the power for video games.
- Age compression (children getting older younger) continues to move its way into the market place. In 2006, girls between the ages of 7 and 14 spent $11.5 billion on clothing. Companies are making tweens their ultimate target market and often have age-related, leadup products to reach them. One such example is Bonne Bell, who introduces lip balm to 4 to 6 year olds followed by lip gloss to 7 and 10 year olds, and so on. (“Marketers Keep Pace with Tweens” USA Today, 4/11/07)
- When the International Builders Association revealed the “New American Home for 2007” it included a number of features that reflect the changing demographics of the United States and the influx of technology. Some of the features included: two master bedrooms on the ground floor, wheel chair accessibility, elevators, granny suites, and office/lounge (his and hers). (USA Today, 3/9/07)
- Time remains among the highest of priorities by consumers as evidenced by the variety of industries who are advertising the ways in which they can save their customers time. There’s the 30 minute lunch or it’s free menu at some eat-in restaurant chains. Banks that featured ATM machines that are faster than the ones down the street. Call ahead pick up services just about everywhere. Time continues to maintain its importance.
- Universities across the country recognizing the critical role sense of community and engagement plays in student learning and retention have shifted their focus to include creating ways to actively involve students with the campus community. CA State Dominguez Hills is planning a Toro First Year program to support the involvement and retention of first generation college students. Such first year programs are widely gathering in popularity. An instrument to measure such levels of community and engagement are used by these institutions.
- Check out the greeting card industries to get a glimpse into the reality of how life stage has replaced numerical age. First of all, the age-specific cards have really witnessed an increase where you now find cards for 80, 90, and even 100 year olds. There are the usual congratulatory messages for getting married and having a baby, but they have been augmented by graduation cards for mature adults, new career send-off messages, and recognition of new relationships, acquiring a significant other, adopting a child, etc.
||© California Park & Recreation Society, 2007. trendSCAN is created for CPRS by Leisure Lifestyle Consulting of Sarasota, FL. Comments and questions can be directed to Dr. Ellen O’Sullivan at
. Please feel free to share interesting trend information with her as well.