In 2014 the State Demography Office released a short publication defining the social generations used by the media and others to describe the cohorts of people born within a range of dates. These cohorts identify people who may have similar cultural experiences. In Colorado in 2010 many of the discussions surrounded the “Aging of the Baby Boomers” as they were the social generation approaching age 65 at the time. Recent news in Colorado has been focused on Millennials and their contribution to the total population and more specifically to the labor force as they are the most recent social generation to fully enter working age groups.
On March 1, 2018, the Pew Research Center defined the “Millennial” generation as persons born between 1981 and 1996. Delimiting a generation raises multiple questions, not the least of which is what do you call people born after 1996? At the moment, Pew declined to assign a label to the cohort born after 1996, preferring to call this cohort the “Post-Millennials”. While we recognize the diversity of, and within, birth cohorts, we also note that generational labels provide convenient labels (e.g., “The Greatest Generation”, “Baby Boomers”, “Generation X”, “Millennials”, etc.) for discussing large population groups –especially over time. For the time being, we will continue to follow the recommendations of the Pew Research Center in defining “Millennials” as the cohort of persons born between 1981 and 1996 and “Post-Millennials” for people born afterwards.
The significant change in the age structure in Colorado has lent itself to several questions related to the size and magnitude of Colorado’s different generations. Understanding the current and future age distribution of a community is important and gives us an opportunity to plan for potential changing demands in health services, education programs, transportation, housing, and labor supply. The purpose of this document is to describe and delineate through data the time periods of the “social generations” in Colorado.
· The Greatest generation, those born 1901 to 1927, are known to have been born and come of age in the “American Century” of economic growth, technological progress, and mostly military triumph.
· The Silent generation describes adults born from 1928 through 1945. Children of the Great Depression and World War II, their “Silent” label refers to their conformist and civic instincts. It also makes for a nice contrast with the noisy ways of the anti-establishment Boomers.
· The Baby Boomer label is drawn from the great spike in fertility that began in 1946, after the end of World War II, and ended almost as abruptly in 1964, around the time the birth control pill went on the market. It’s a classic example of a demography-driven name.
· Generation X typically refers to people born from 1965 through 1980. The label long ago overtook the first name affixed to this generation: the Baby Bust. Xers are often depicted as savvy, entrepreneurial loners.
· The Millennial generation, also known as Gen Y, gets their name from the significant turn in the calendar and refers those born 1981 through 1996 – the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.
· The post-Millennial generation – born 1997 (through 2014 for our purposes) – is a work in progress. They will be followed by a generation yet to be defined who we will refer to as the Next generation. We are assigning this Next generation to begin in 2015 (a nice round number) and if the generation is defined similarly to earlier generations it will likely be approximately 15 years in length ending in 2030 (another nice round number).
Aging of Colorado and its Impact on Employment
In October 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its long-term occupational employment projections from 2016 to 2026. Changing demographics and the aging of baby-boomers driving up demand for healthcare services were cited in the intro paragraph of the Projections overview and highlights, 2016-26 in the Monthly Labor Review. The State Demography Office (SDO) released a paper earlier in 2017 that looked at the Employment Impact from Senior Spending in Colorado, with a specific focus on the industries and occupations that were most impacted by the growing senior population in Colorado. The commonalities between the industries / occupations with the most jobs supported by seniors in Colorado and fastest growing industries and occupations identified by the BLS are highlighted below.
Between 2000 and 2007, Colorado and the US experienced a steep decline in fertility, both during and following the recession. But although the fertility rate is still declining, it’s declining at a slower rate. In part 1 of this series we looked at recent changes in fertility rates across our state by race and ethnicity, by age, and by region. Now let’s take a closer look at what we expect the future to bring, and what it means for Colorado.
Fertility measures are an important aspect of understanding changes in population growth. Taking a closer look at the recent and expected trends in Colorado’s fertility rates helps us to better understand the population as it is today, and any changes we can expect to see in the future.
There is a lot of conversation around Millennials and the workplace, and how they differ from older generations. A quick Google search will return studies on generational gaps in everything from communication styles to technology preferences. But when it comes to earnings, how are Millennials faring compared to their older counterparts?
We like to end each year with a look back at the population and economic changes and trends we’ve seen across the state. Although Colorado varies by Region and even by County, there were some big changes and takeaways at the state level that we want to share with you. You can also read the entire 2016 Population & Economic Overview here.
The Census Bureau released their July 2016 population estimates, and the data tells a very interesting story!
While the US as a whole increased by 2.2 million, or .7%, Colorado increased by 91,726 - ranking 8th among states for total growth! With a total estimated population of 5,540,545, Colorado has moved up one spot and is now the 21st largest state, beating out Minnesota.
Each fall for the past 34 years, the State Demography Office has gathered data enthusiasts from across the state together for our Annual Demography Summit. While the name of the event has changed over time, the quality of the agenda and enthusiasm of the attendees has always been high!
Every year we release our population estimates, projections and economic forecasts at the Summit. Our team presents their data, methodology, and insights in a user-friendly, easy to understand manner. You don’t need to be a demographer or an economist to get a lot out of this event - you just need to be interested in data!
Colorado’s population is getting older. Between 2010 and 2015, Colorado’s growth in its 65 plus population was 3rd fastest in the US at over 29%, compared to 4th place in overall growth (8.5%). In part 1 of this series we looked at why Colorado is aging so quickly. Now let’s take a closer look at what it means for our state.
It’s no secret that Colorado’s population is getting older. Our state’s aging population has been covered in news stories and data analysis by everyone from the Denver Post to the US Census Bureau, and with good reason. Between 2010 and 2015, Colorado’s growth in its 65 plus population was 3rd fastest in the US at over 29%. Compare this to our 4th place in overall growth (8.5%), and it’s easy to see why this topic has garnered so much attention.
But what does an older population actually mean for Colorado, and why is it happening? To answer this, we have to start at the beginning, and look at the state’s total population.