Demographic analysis is not all that hard, if you think about it. Young white kids are flooding into our nation's cities; the crumbling suburban wasteland, therefore, is welcoming an influx of formerly urban black people. This could be seen as a reasonably fair trade, except for one key factor—the old people are still there in the suburbs. And they're cranky.
Although the kids who were raised in the suburbs their whole lives could not evacuate the soulless exurban purgatory fast enough, their parents—the moderately successful baby boomers who moved into the suburbs decades ago, when they seemed like a utopia—aren't going anywhere. From the Washington Post:
The nation's baby boomers - 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964 - were the first generation to grow up in suburbia, and the suburbs is where many chose to rear their own children. Now, as the oldest boomers turn 65, demographers and local planners predict that most of them will not move to retirement areas such as Florida and Arizona. They will stay put.
Oh. God. Our whole system is premised on the idea that we can corral old folks in specified holding pens when they start to show their age. This "staying put" trend could spread crankiness throughout communities far and wide, like a cancer of obstinacy. Suburbs will no longer be about Little League, pool parties, and ubiquitous illegal drugs of every sort; they'll be about boat-like Cadillacs, hearing aids, and legal prescription drugs of every sort. And Jesus Christ, can you imagine the volume of thinly-veiled "there goes the neighborhood" rhetoric that's going to welcome the new influx of suburban non-whites at the decrepit community golf clubhouse that's now a de facto eldercare center? What a nightmare. They'd complain about anyone moving in, of course, but this is just a demographic setup for a disaster.
Old people, your place is in special designated communities located in sun-bleached states that are nice to visit but you (meaning we, the health young current rulers of the world) wouldn't want to live there, mostly because it's full of old people. But we're willing to forgo Arizona and Florida in order to maintain age-based segregation. Get with the program, olds. Suburbs don't count as a real "home," anyhow.
[WaPo; photo via Shutterstock]