Sunday, June 9, 2013
My Goals for this Blog
Welcome to Demographics and America.
This blog is designed to promote a better understanding and appreciation of American demographic change, particularly the dynamics of a changing population--its features, structures, behaviors--and its corresponding connection to American social, political, and economic life.
Simply put, twenty-first century America is undergoing dramatic--and arguably unprecedented--demographic change.
We are rapidly becoming a more racially and ethnically diverse nation, particularly among our younger population. At the same time, we are experiencing a significant population increase among elderly Americans, a consequence of aging Baby Boomers (i.e. those born from c.1946 to c.1964) and overall rising life expectancies.
And even as the United States is experiencing unprecedented racial-ethnic diversification among its young population, the American birth rate has fallen significantly over the last forty years.
The long-term decline in the American birth rate has, in turn, coincided with robust levels of immigration for forty years or so, a phenomenon that--in addition to off-setting the consequences of declines in the American birth rate--has enhanced the pace of racial-ethnic diversification.
Diversity and age structure, however, are not the only significant recent changes in American life that are related to demographics. Internal migrations of American residents to sunbelt states remain important factors in the development of American economic, cultural, and political life. So too is the evolution of residential patterns in which Americans are significantly less rural, and increasingly urban and suburban.
Family structure and gender roles, moreover, are very much in a state of flux in contemporary American life. Women are increasingly prominent in higher education. Marriage rates are down. Female-headed households are on the rise. Similarly, women are continuing to assume wider and more prominent roles in the American workforce.
In short, American demographic change in the twenty-first century is both dramatic and complex. It's also a phenomenon well worth studying.
One of my major goals for this site is to provide timely updates to demographics-related news and reports. To put it another way, I hope to alert the visitor to sites and sources that can better inform us all about changing demographics in a changing America.
My other major goal is to offer--from time to time--my own views and insights. I hope the visitor will find these musings to be valid and helpful.
For the record, though, I am not a trained demographer, nor am I a statistician. My take on American demographics is overwhelmingly derivative from the meticulous work of others.
My academic background is in history. I hold a Master of Arts in History from the University of Alabama, and have taught high school history since 1997. As such, I am inclined to study and to explain contemporary demographic change in the stream of the larger American story. Hopefully, my historically-oriented outlook will help to make this site more valuable to all who visit. In a sense, I hope to help tell a story that is not easily told.
Also, I assume that visitors to this site will vary greatly in terms of knowledge and expertise about the discipline of demography. That being the case, some of my posts will be oriented around the basics methods of demography, and similarly, rudimentary demographic data. Other posts, however, will be oriented towards those with a prior interest and knowledge of the topics. I hope to achieve a helpful balance.
Lastly, I am new to the blogging world. As time goes by, I am sure that I will make many changes to how I manage this site. Hopefully any and all alterations will be for the better.
I hope you enjoy this blog.
Bay Minette, Alabama