“We wrote Big Shifts Ahead primarily for ourselves,” writes Burns and Porter in the introduction. “As consultants to the construction and investment industries, we need to understand the demographic shifts transforming the country. We also need to communicate the trends to our clients in a way that makes the information digestible and usable for decision making.” In part three — titled “Lifestyle Shifts” — they chronicle other trends, including the growth of the sharing economy, the migration southward and the new “surban” way of life. They believe people and millions of jobs will move from north to south. Americans will migrate south, leaving New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois to the Sunbelt states of Texas and Florida, seeking affordable housing and urban-like environments they call “surban” living. “Surban” Living In Chapter 10, the authors claim that surban living — a blend of the best of urban living with a more affordable suburban environment — will see the bulk of new household formation in the next decade. They present evidence of a denser, more urban vision of suburbia that is powered by social and demographic shifts involving working women, affluent immigrants and both younger and older adults. Along the way, they also make several 21st century forecasts, including some unexpected ones:
FOREIGN-BORN SHARE OF U.S. POPULATION 13% of Americans are immigrants, the highest percentage in 90+ years.
Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC calculations using U.S. Census Bureau decennial data.
Born in the 1970s to dual-income and divorced parents, Balancers are teens who embraced television and video games. Unlike their workaholic parents, Balancers divorce less, stay home with their kids more and have children later in life. One-third of Balancers are foreign born. Next in the generational grouping are the Sharers . Born in the 1980s, the Sharers invented the sharing economy out of necessity, embracing new technologies. They are the most educated cohort ever, but they are racked by student debt, under-employment, and 20 percent live below the poverty line. Raised by a single parent and born in the 1990s, the Connectors are wirelessly connected 24/7 to friends, family and
the knowledge economy. Many Connectors are still in school; they are highly educated, underemployed and wary of credit. 4 Big Influencers Next, Burns and Porter identify 4 Big Influencers that shape generational shifts, namely government policies, economic cycles, new technologies and societal shifts. In part two — titled “The Biggest Demographic Opportunities” — they outline four big shifts impacting society, including the growth of college-educated women, new streams of affluent immigrants, workaholic retirees and young adults born after 1980 — the Sharers and the Connectors — who will dominate the next decade.
ATTOM Data Solutions • P26
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