I’ve known (ever since my own short stint in higher education marketing) that the demographics of the U.S. are a bit dismal from here on out. The situation, which I’ve jokingly referred to as “Peak Demo”, is that most growth in higher education has been funded by the 17-24 year old set, and that demographic starts stabilizing (and actually shrinking slightly) from here on out, as the so-called “echo-boomers” move into their late-20s and early 30s. Somewhere in the mid-aughts was peak demo. We’ll bottom out around 2020, and, barring international students and changes in immigration law, we won’t get back to 2005/6 levels until around 2030.
(From the excellent stats site NationMaster)
That has really ugly implications for higher education institutions, which used the echo-boom years to expand, rather than transform (Oops!). It means that transformation now has to be accomplished while being run down by the three horsemen of the edu-pocalypse: Baumol’s cost disease, rising medical cost demands on GDP (with attendant declines in state support), and, now, lousy demographics to boot.
Wow. And of course, there’s Western Europe, which has been imploding for a while (but maybe has the advantage of having not expanded during an echo boom):
No real poignant observation here, just interesting to see this issue outside the U.S.-centric context.
(and, yes, if you are Kenya, it’s a whole different ball game)