Planning for a New Age

Who We Are


The Society 2030 Consortium is made up of academics from the University of Michigan and representatives from companies in a variety of industries. Researchers from fields as diverse as engineering, medicine, psychology, and business make up the academic portion of the Consortium. Currently, companies in manufacturing, housing, and insurance, among others, are involved with Society 2030. We look forward to working together to face the challenges of our shared future.

What We Do


This consortium will bring together the corporate and academic worlds to proactively shape our changing society. To begin, we will share cutting edge research and information by world-renowned experts about what we currently know and what we predict for future society. We will identify what new developments are needed and what knowledge might be necessary and subsequently develop interdisciplinary teams to conduct mutually beneficial, pre-competitive research.

Shifts in population graphic

Shift in Population


The population is aging around the world. In the U.S., average life expectancy in 1900 was approximately 47 years, and by 2000, this number was approximately 79 years. The change is due to decreased fertility, fewer deaths in childbirth and childhood, as well as dramatically improved public health. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 37 million people, or approximately 12% of the population, were over 65 in 2005. As the Baby Boomers turn 65, this number is projected to increase dramatically to 72 million people. That is, approximately one in five Americans will be 65 or older. These changes will result in a considerable shift in the structure of the population, from a pyramid shape with substantially more younger than older people, to a beanpole shape with approximately equal numbers of people at all ages. From 1995 to 2050, the total population will increase by 50%, with the over 65 population increasing by 135%, and the over 85 population increasing by 401%.

Implications


There are significant implications for our society and every aspect of the world in which we live. Academic experts have been studying the aging experience, including not only how it affects an individual, both physically and mentally, but also how it affects their family, who in the future will have fewer children but will be responsible for four and five generations of family members. More than ever before, younger and older generations will communicate through mobile means and use the internet for social networking and email. Social relationships. People will have different concerns and expectations for work, play, and consumption. We will need new products for new environments.

Older couple using a cell phone

How is the Society 2030 Consortium Different?


Society 2030 will be based on a cooperative arrangement that teams academics with the corporate partners. World-renowned experts in fields such as gerontology, demography, transportation, engineering, psychology, medicine, and business will discuss their leading-edge research with corporate partners. Corporate partners will subsequently develop the research agenda for the Center for Society 2030 based on their mutual interests, as they interact with faculty, researchers, students, and counterparts from other industries.