Predictions, trends and the American future |

Predictions, trends and the American future

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Trend setters are always looking to the future. What can we do to woo the buyer or forecast the next big “It”. Seize “It”, speculate and sell “It”, not necessarily in that order.

Yesterday is a canceled check so innovate or someone will steal your cheese. Did I just mix my business metaphors?

We love talking about the future, and there’s nothing quite as attention-getting as consumer forecasts. These days, anybody who has got the (Wall) Street cred is predicting the market will decline here, rise there and decline again. Not necessarily in that order. And does it really matter anyhow since China is supposed to blow everyone into the red?

My healthy admiration of educated speculators – and unhealthy fascination with the offbeat, up-and-coming side of fashion – led me to an AP report on future shifts predicted by demography expert William Frey, who lays the cards down at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Here are some of his predictions:

• The United States is two-thirds white, but in a decade it will be 60 percent, and the trend will go on until white Americans are in the minority.

• As they enter their 60s, baby-boom women will hold more college degrees and professional occupations than any previous senior generation.

• Whole swaths of the country are losing their under-35s. In the coming years, the number of people younger than 35 will decline in such states as Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.

• The younger population will grow fastest in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas.

• Hispanics will give birth at the highest rate. In October, the 300 millionth American will be born – a Hispanic boy in Los Angeles County.

As you can tell these predictions could become important to American businesses. I thought all of that sounded pretty cool – especially the part about the younger population growing fastest in Nevada – but then it hit me that Frey probably meant Las Vegas. (Note to fellow Gen Xers, Las Vegas isn’t all that great, really, I know, I grew up there. It’s really hot. And you’re eight hours from Tahoe.)

I asked Western Nevada Community College President Dr. Carol Lucey to propose some educated guesses about our future. I can’t imagine she’s that far off. Her predictions:

“We should start to see our student demographics more closely match the population demographics of our seven-county service area. That means our Hispanic college population will grow until it is at least 12 percent (where we are right now in our service area), and as the Hispanic population percentage grows, our Hispanic student population should continue to grow as well.

“Our Hispanic student population has grown from 5 percent to 9 percent of total student enrollment over just the last few years.

“As the pressures of globalization make college more and more important, the numbers of men and women enrolled in college should become more equal at our college and around the country.

“As a college education becomes more important for a person’s economic success, we should see more people electing to attend college earlier than has been the case in Nevada in the past. That has already started to happen at WNCC. All our graphs over the last few years show an increasing population of 20-24 year olds attending.”

As for the up-and-coming fashion industry? Since I am the resident expert (at the Nevada Appeal) I predict that long tanks and straight-legged pants will remain in style for at least another season. Now, if I can just get everybody talking about long tanks and straight-legged pants, we’ll really see the powers of speculation in play.

Start your blogs.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.