With the Baby Boom, there was a sudden, unexpected surge in births—and within a decade, diaper services went from a novelty to the equivalent in 2021 dollars of a nearly half‑billion‑dollar industry. Cities rushed to build more schools. Then a bit later America had millions of teenagers, so businesses and industries reorganized around them.
Over and over, age‑dependent systems struggled to accommodate the encroaching boomers. To use a boom‑appropriate analogy, America has been a nation of Lucille Balls scrambling to handle the conveyor belt of chocolates. And now, more than 75 years into the boom, you might be able to predict which systems will be overrun.
Excerpt from The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America
My thoughts: The Villages Retirement Community (City?) has been on my radar for years, ever since I saw that stats on its local newspaper.
23rd largest circulation — for a non-metro city in America that’s essentially only 40-50 years old… this is insane; this puts it in the category with NYT, WSJ, WaPo, Chicago Trib, etc.
92% market penetration — even in small towns, like Clifton, you won’t even see stats half of that
169% growth in circulation since 2003 — while the rest of the local news (and more broadly pay-for-news) industry has shrunk close to 40% over the same period
Family owned — this may be the last remaining private, family-owned major news outlet
Wildly partisan — pro-Trump (to an unethical degree), selective in coverage, lacks accountable transparency; but that comes with private, family-ownership
Upside down operations — the print editions loses money (no surprise); the demographic is largely opposed to digital; the staff has more millennials than Boomers; it takes almost 50 people to run it
Combine those stats together and you have possibly the perfect metaphor for legacy media (and the generation that clings to it).
The Villages will be an interesting case study for future generations and one we get to watch unfold in the coming years.