With the Global population rising to 9 Billion over the next 10 -15 years, some municipalities are still going to shrink, and many will increase beyond it’s ability to provide services. What will City Hall do with it’s collapsing tax basins. A disclaimer, I don’t for a minute claim to understand what it’s like to sit on a City Council. I wouldn’t want the job truth be told, so I’m not saying what they do is easy, anyone can point fingers and complain. We the people have really set City Hall up to fail, but that’s not my point. I am however, praying City hall is paying attention to a trend in our aging population, and business community.
Third world countries will have the most population growth over western countries, but we will eventually reach 9 Billion in the coming decade or so. The current challenge is not with the growth as much as it is with those wondering off to pasture, the baby boomers. The first of the baby boomers will turn 65 this year, but the real challenge is, the tail end of the baby boomers are turning 50 in 2014, and this generation is the largest portion of our population. That means the average age will be 40, the generations to come are unable to replace the boomers in the workforce, we will have to rely on immigration to fill the that gap. That is another topic for another time.
Imagine, today 50% of the population is over the age of 30, it won’t be long before 50% of the population is over 50. This trend will continue because we no linger birth children at the rate we used to, we could birth them fast enough to catchup and solve the problem of an aging world. The numbers alone don’t really show you the problem, it’s not the numbers as much as it is how the generations yet to come think. They won’t value what we value today. If you were to poll the under 20 generation today, they will tell you that ownership is not that important to them. The idea of owning a home, or a car for that matter, is not on the radar screen for most of them. They don’t value ownership the same way people do over the age of 40. What does that mean, less money filling the tax bucket in many municipalities. Is City Hall even looking at that problem?
The under 20 generation and the one’s to follow, will most likely buy into the co-op housing, or shoebox appartments long before owning a house on land. Why, They value lifestyle over workstyle. They are not willing to give up what many of us did to have the lifestyle we have, we traded our time for dollars, we worked to live. The younger generations don’t value work the same way, most people over the age of 40 have their identity wrapped up in what they do for work. Their work validates them, it is who they are, not what they do. Gen C and beyond do not have that conditioning to deal with, creating a different thought process on ownership of home and country.
City Hall also has to deal with another shift, 60% of all commerce is going online, that to may help shrink the tax basin. How? A local bricks & mortar business decides to sell it’s products and services online exclusively. Let’s say they have success. Before you know it, they have shutdown that bricks & mortar location, they discover they don’t even need an office, they’ve put everything out on the cloud, and then run their business by smartphone. How will that impact real estate, (read my thoughts on agents becoming obsolete here) let alone the tax revenues cities rely on. As you can see these shifts in thinking by the generations to come will rewite the rule book in every municipality. Is City Hall paying attention?
While all this is happening, we will have other issues to deal with, water shortages, possible food shortages and so on. We will enter into a society not unlike the one in the movie “The Book Of ELI”, in that movie, we kill (people) for things we throw away today. One man’s garbage is another mans treasure.
I don’t know how our City Hall’s will be able to change the way they think, but I hope they do, our communities depend on it. Protectionism and control are the current model of running a city, I fear that will be the undoing, because my kids kids won’t tolerate it.
This problem of an aging population belongs to all of us, we will have to work hard to maintain the economies and lifestyles we enjoy today here in the western front. What other challenges do you see?