Dowell Myers, Ph.D.

Demographer and professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California

At a recent Commission meeting, Myers presented “Preparing for California’s New Generational Future: How New Trends Are Reversing Old Assumptions Based on the Past,” which highlighted the most pressing challenges looming on the horizon for the local business community.

Myers’ research found California is experiencing an unprecedented decline in its most valuable resource: Children.

In 1970, children made up 33 percent of the state’s population. By 2030, children are expected to comprise just 21 percent, a drop that will likely have dire implications for the local economy as more baby boomers retire.

To address the economic challenges posed by this baby bust, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County invited business leaders and policy makers to hear Dowell’s presentation about the state’s shifting demographics.

“By 2015, each newborn child will carry fully twice the weight of social and economic responsibility as a child born in 1985,” Myers said.

Myers research has found that more than 90 percent of today’s children under the age of 10 were born in California, a sharp reversal in the trend of previous decades and a sign that California cannot rely on newcomers from other states and countries to bolster its workforce.

Particularly troubling is Myers’ finding that more than 20 percent of the state’s children are living below the poverty line, limiting their access to food, housing, health care and education – and greatly restricting their potential.

“The majority of the next generation of workers will have been shaped by California’s health and education systems,” Myers said. “It’s essential that we nurture our human capital.”

Myers directs the Population Dynamics Research Group and is the author of the award-winning 2007 book Immigrants and Boomers and numerous studies promoting the intergenerational perspective in planning and policy making.

To view his presentation click here.