Census data, as well as data collected through polls by the well-regarded research arm of the Wilder Foundation, show communities are experiencing economic and demographic shifts that have come to be called the "new normal." These are not temporary trends but significant and permanent changes that will affect us all.
- By 2030, older-age people will outnumber school-age children for the first time (in North Dakota and South Dakota, these shifts are happening even earlier - 2012 and 2019, respectively).
- Our children are growing up in a world where three out of four are people of color, while only one in 12 people in the Baby Boom generation were of color.
- Rural areas are losing their working-age adults (and the children they raise) to urban areas.
- In the last 15 years, the rate of diabetes has more than doubled.
- Rising health care costs have more than doubled in the last 40 years, and people have compensated by saving less.
- Nearly 70 percent of job openings will require a post-secondary degree, even while high school and college graduation rates are falling.
These and other indicators show that the "new normal" is here and not going away. And across the region, people and institutions are acknowledging that these challenges exists even as they begin working together to advance solutions for them.
We believe the best way to support communities in not just surviving but thriving is by building leadership capacity, engaging communities in working together to identify and solve problems and providing access to tools for innovation. Armed with these three resources, communities can find sustainable solutions to the tough public problems they face in the age of the "new normal."