trendSCAN September 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:13


In this version:

  • Did You Know?
  • This Year’s Entering College Freshmen
  • Urban Acupuncture
  • California’s Connection between Boomers and Immigrants
  • The Boomerrangers – Home Again
  • Who’s Who at Fitness Clubs – Info from IHRSA
  • The ‘Obesogenic’ Environment??


Did You Know? 

Quick information of Interest/Assistance

  • More  Minority Babies than Not.  The United States is becoming a minority-majority as it relates to infants.  According to the 2010 Census, 50.2% of infants under the age of 1 are white and not Hispanic; this represents a decline from 57.6% in ten years.  Texas and California have been minority-majority babies for over two decade and now are joined by states such as Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.
  • The End of Retirement?  According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies more than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s plan on working past 65 and 47% of that age group indicate that it is the need for money and/or health benefits that will keep them working. (Wall Street Journal, August 2011).
  • More Hispanics in College than Blacks.  Hispanics surpassed blacks in 2010 to become the second-largest racial or ethnic group of young adults in America’s colleges, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.  The federal Current Population Survey listed the number of Hispanic college students ages 18 to 24 rose by 24%. to 1.8 million; 7.7 million white college students in that age group, 1.7 million black students and 800,000 Asian Americans.
  • Watchword for the Future:  ‘Forever Young’.  Baby boomers will be spending billions of dollars to maintain their “forever young” persona and mindset.  Think wrinkle cream, plastic surgery, workouts.  Global Industry Analysts, a market research firm, projects that this trend is currently responsible for $80 billion a year and rising to $114 billion by 2015.


This Year’s Entering College Freshmen

Since 1998, Beloit College has released the Freshmen Mindset List.  Compiled by the college’s Public Affairs Director and a Professor of the Humanities, Nief and McBride respectively, this list was initially developed to remind faculty and staff to be more aware of potentially dated references when speaking with students. 

Take a look at what follows… Mindset 2015, a listing of cultural norms for entering college freshmen most of them born in 1993:

  • Online has NEVER been a reference to laundry blowing in the wind
  • Amazon has always meant more than one thing -  online purveyor and river in South America
  • Ferris Bueller is old enough to be their father
  • Blackboards have always been ‘smarter’
  • The Communist Party was NEVER the official party of Russia and courts in Russia have ALWAYS had juries
  • Women have always been on the  Supreme Court
  • Bike helmets have always been a requirement of their lives
  • Arnold Palmer has always been a drink and ‘charter schools’ have always been an option.
  • Public schools have always made space available for advertising.
  • All states have always celebrated Martin Luther King Day
  • Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
  •  “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
  • They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
  • There has always been an Internet!

Oh well, the list goes on.  You know “yadda, yadda, yadda” that expression used to shorten stories and explanations has always been a part of their conversations.

Just to remind you how life changes and the references along with them…

The class that entered Beloit and other colleges in the United States in the fall of 1998 when the list originated…

            …didn’t recall the Reagan era and never knew he had been shot

            …didn’t remember the Space Shuttle Challenger blowing up

            …always lived in a world that included AIDS

            … Most had never seen a TV set with only 13 channels OR a black & white TV.

            …Cable had always been a standard part of life.

            …VCRs yes, Beta????

Members of that entering freshmen class from the fall of 1998 are now 35 year olds.  They likely work with you so don’t reminisce about ‘watching cartoons on Saturday mornings’.  They will likely wonder why you couldn’t just watch them every day.

Urban Acupuncture?

Have you ever heard of the term “urban acupuncture”?  Most people have not, but it is a trend that is beginning to transform life in urban areas right now and for the coming decade.

What is it? 

It’s an approach initially introduced by a Finnish architect that suggests large scale urban projects involving acres of space and massive resources will give way to urban renewal projects that take a more localized, community approach.

Why now?

  • All throughout the world, people are moving from rural and ex-urban areas into cities and metro centers so there is a need for making cities and urban areas livable in the next decade or so.
  • More people living in cities or metro areas results in the increased demand upon cities to provide for more water, energy, and other resources.
  • The large development projects of recent years such as Millennium Park in Chicago and the explosive growth in Dubai are not likely to be viable options due to resource circumstances; large scale projects involving acres of space and sizeable financial investment may no longer be feasible “

Consider the following

  • According to LA architect and professor, John Southern, urban acupuncture treats cities like a living organism by micro-targeting low cost, democratic and empowering tactics that provide residents with highly desired green space without the need to drive to a specific location.
  • De Monchaux’s project Local Code, in San Francisco with the help of GIS technology, located 600 sites in San Francisco that together are two-thirds the size of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s largest park that is often referred to as the city’s urban lungs.
  • In New York City, empty lots cumulatively add up to space larger than Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park combined.

Trend or Fad?

Is this just the flavor of the month or is it something more lasting.  Southern the LA architect, reminds us that there are cities that have benefited from such localized development for decades now.  He cites Berlin, Germany where the ownership of lots vacant after World War II was difficult to identify.  These unclaimed lots became and remain playgrounds, pocket parks, urban forests, or even benches to sit upon.  And World War II ended decades ago.

Source: Guardian Professional Network, for on Thursday 21st July 2011 14.30 UTC

California’s Connection between Boomers and Immigrants

What, if anything, might be the relationship between  California’s baby boomers and the immigrants that have flocked to the California borders?

Four years ago, Dowell Myers, a demographer at USC, projected  that in the future that people may be less worried about too many illegal Mexican immigrants and more concerned about educating the Mexicans already residing in the state.

In his book,  "Immigrants and Boomers: Forging a New Social Contract for the Future of America," Myers asked and provided some answers to this shift by specifically focusing upon who would fill the skilled jobs vacated by millions of retiring baby boomers AND who might buy their houses?

Declining Immigration

Over the past four years, the U.S. population of illegal immigrants has declined from approximately 12 million to 11 million.  Why?

  1. Economic downfall in the United States
  2. Mexico’s improving economy
  3. Declining Mexican birth rate

Impact and Changes due to Demographics

Who will the new workers be?

Who will purchase and occupy the newly vacated houses?  The irony of that question is reflected in the title of the article sourced for this information:  Who Will Buy Grandma’s House?

Some of the answers to those questions may be found by recent economic and demographic information from both countries, the United States and Mexico, which reveal the following:

  • The proportion of older, white homeowners has been shrinking since the 1980s as white homeowners relocate out of California, move into rentals, go to assisted living facilities, or die. 
  • These homes were NOT purchased by younger white would-be homeowners but by Latinos
  1. In the 2000s, the total number of what the Census calls non-Hispanic white homeowners in California declined by nearly 158,000.
  2. In the 2000s, as the proportion of all Californians who owned their own home decreased, the number of Latino homeowners increased by nearly 384,000; this represents more than 78% of the growth in California’s homeownership.
  3. By 2005, the most common surnames of California new home buyers were Garcia, Hernandes, Rodrigues, Lopez, and Martinez.




What then do these numbers and changes in percentages mean for California? 

That the older, white retirees and the younger immigrant population may indeed need to re-work their relationship between the two groups to ensure a viable future for all.

TIPs (Trends into Practice)

Parks and recreation can play a crucial role in the development and adult success of young people.  Programming and supports to keep Latinos in school and succeeding in life is potentially a market position that addresses the critical, societal needs of California


The Boomerrangers – Home Again

A few years back there was talk about a ‘boomerang generation’ but such recollections are overwhelmed by the new groups referred to as ‘boomerrangers’.

What do we or should we know about this group of youth returning home?

  1. 13% of parents with grown children say that at least one child has moved back home recently
  2. They are 22 to 29 year olds
  3. mostly single
  4.  work full-time
  5.  prime consumers for the future as they are developing their own brand loyalty

According to Luminosity Marketing, there are two primary segments within this group: the ‘Savvy Savers’ and the ‘No Choicers’.

  • 35% indicate this move back home is to save money; more than half of this group thinks this is a ‘wise choice” to make and have a time table for moving on; they are the  ‘savvy savers’
  • 25% say they live at home because they can’t afford to live on their own and 82% of this group report living at home with their parents is NOT fun and less than half of them have a time table for moving out; they are the ‘no choicers’.

 Other insights about this group include

  • 80% participate in purchasing groceries for the household. 
  • They increasingly make household decisions and purchases, rather than their parents.
  • They generally report happy moods and low stress levels in their daily lives due to the ‘parental family safety net’
  • They carve out personal living spaces within the family home – 40% with their own bathroom, 20% with their own mini-refrigerator.
  • 34% of their purchases are impulse.
  • For common, day-to-day items, they are more value-conscious than brand driven.

Source:  The Lempert Report, August 2011

TIPs (Trends into Practice)

Here’s a ready-made group of participants and future supporters for parks and recreation.  Informal, perhaps co-ed, sports nights, mini-evening workshops, space for young adults with like interests to gather and even volunteer opportunities are all options for this group

Who’s Who at Fitness Clubs – Info from IHRSA

In late August, IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet, and Sports Club Association, released its IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report:  2011 Health Club Activity, Usage Trends & Analysis.  This report is available for purchase from IHRSA but their initial press release provides some insight into the demographics and trends within the industry for this current year.

Insight included:

  1. Membership reached an all-time high of 50.2 million members
  2. Much of this increase was due to increases in new members
  3. Nearly 3 out of 5 new members were female; compared with the 50/50 ratio of more long term members
  4. 2/3s of group exercise participants are female

The profile of the typical health club member includes:

  1. Equally likely to be male or female
  2. Between the ages of 25 and 44 years
  3. Average age is 39.5 years
  4. College graduates or higher
  5. Annual income of at least $75,000 or more
  6. Average length of membership between 2 and 5 years.

This information was based upon 38,742 online interviews of a national sample of individuals and households.

The ‘Obesogenic’ Environment

Is there even such a world as ‘obesogenic’?

The term, obesogenic, has apparently been around since 1996 and is just now coming into more common usage.  According to World Wide Words, obesogenic…

…consists of the joining of two words, obese plus genic; genic means something tending to generate or create.

It refers to conditions that lead people to become excessively fat — a worrying trend in developed countries, especially among young people, who are eating too much of the wrong things and not taking enough exercise. The problem is variously put down to social causes (too many sedentary pursuits available; fear that the outdoors in cities is dangerous, leading to less cycling, walking and running about) or to the results of our consumer lifestyle (eating pre-prepared meals that contain excessive sugar and fats).


A recent New York Times article references this word in an article about the underlying reasons for the ‘growing’ trend in obesity in the United States and other developed countries.   An obesegnic environment refers to the primary environmental forces such as the economic interests of the food and beverage industries and the way our communities have been built to make walking an unnatural part of today’s world as the basis for this trend.

Apparently the onset of these conditions first surfaced back in 1900 when the energy required for daily living decreased substantially.  The weight of Americans remained fairly stable until the 1970 which a team of obesity researchers refer to as the “tipping point.  This tipping point resulted in the calorie imbalance going beyond just weight gain and leading to the obesity epidemic we currently face.

The article goes on to cite vending machines, TV commercials, television watching, convenience foods, and the growth and popularity of the suburbs among the elements of an obesegnic environment.

Source:  New York Times, September 2011 


trendSCAN© is created by Dr. Ellen O'Sullivan at Please feel free to share interesting trend information with her as well.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:21