Neil Howe: Why Millennials Aren’t So Unique

The conventional wisdom is that Millennials are a generation with unique needs and buying habits, but Neil Howe says that they are very similar to the Greatest Generation. Howe, who coined the term “Millennial,” says that both generations are highly risk-averse, a characteristic brought on by their shared parenting environment.

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In a talk last week, Howe explained how we can use generational patterns and historical economic trends to better understand the future of the global economy. He also cautioned investors about the impact global aging trends will have on future economic development and financial market conditions.

Howe spoke on November 2 at a National Association for Business Economics luncheon in Boston.

He is an authority on social change in America, and an acclaimed bestselling author. He is also a leading researcher at Hedgeye Risk Management and a senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

How aging populations will impact the fiscal future

Howe has spent his career researching demography within the context of economic history. But in his talk last week, he revealed that he recently shifted his focus to a new area of study.

“Political demography is a whole new budding field,” Howe said. “And it will never go away, not for the rest of our lifetimes.”

According to Howe, “Political demography is premised on the fact that in the next century, we are going to see a greater divergence of demographic trajectories, more than we’ve ever seen before in human history.”

This divergence is based on two global aging trends.

On the one hand, “there are places in the world today whose demographics are essentially the same as in pre-modern times,” Howe said. “These are high-mortality, high-fertility societies – I’m talking about a lot of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“And then you have other areas of the world with extreme low-fertility and low morality societies,” Howe explained.

“Look at South Korea,” Howe said. “According to the United Nations constant-fertility scenario, by the year 2035 there will be more people turning age 90 every year than being born every year.”

By Marianne Brunet, read the full article here.

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