We increasingly hear about projected demographic changes in Virginia and across the United States. In 2011, the Envision Virginia Beach 2040 Committee engaged the Southeastern Institute of Research to prepare a compelling report looking at shifts based on age, race, and overall population figures. Meanwhile, new Pew Research Center figures consider “The Next America,” with specific information about generational shifts, racial demographics, rises in immigration and multiracial families, and more.
VCIC program participants often ask how much these demographic shifts will change our communities in the coming years. As is the case with most issues of diversity and inclusion, the answer is multi-faceted.
Indeed, we don’t yet know the full impact of these shifts. Certainly, communities across Virginia and the country are engaged in new ways of planning based on anticipated needs for transportation, housing, education, and healthcare. But at VCIC, we are also increasingly considering the disparate outcomes facing different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. The question remains about whether changes in the quantity of a particular group will necessarily reshape the quality of its members’ lived experiences. For if we simply have more people who do not have full access to the promise of quality education, healthcare, justice, etc., the work of “achieving success through inclusion” will be even more needed in 2040 and beyond than it is today.
What do you think? Do demographic changes matter? Why or why not?