The Demographics the Divide Us

Heidi Selberg, Envision Board President

Economic challenges come with a shrinking working-age population. An analysis published in the New York Times Interpreter newsletter describes how depopulation (primarily because of declining birthrates) leads people to become particularly receptive to far right politics. This is why: As the population decreases, the economy slows down because fewer workers generate tax revenue. The government pulls back services—schools close, public transportation becomes less available, even hospitals might close. People begin to feel neglected and undervalued by politicians. 

Immigrants and disadvantaged populations can be scapegoated by far-right politicians as a way to attract voters. Then immigration – a partial way to address depopulation – becomes less likely. The authors conclude the article by saying, “ ..being able to attract and integrate large numbers of immigrants will be an important competitive advantage for countries in the coming decades. Doing so, however, will require overcoming political barriers that arise, partly, out of the same demographic shifts.”
Read the article here. “How Shrinking Populations Fuel Divisive Politics” by Amanda Taub and Lauren Leatherby, New York Times-The Interpreter,  February 2, 2024.

Let’s Continue to Do What He Would Have Done

A tribute to the memory of Phil Hauck

Our community celebrates the life of Phil Hauck, 1942-2023, Envision president 2006-07, 2022-23.
A mentor and cherished friend to so many, Phil chose to be exceptional. He did nothing half-way – and he brought the rest of us along. It was only his understated and modest demeanor that kept him from being recognized as a giant in Green Bay’s economic landscape. Phil placed great importance on fostering foresight as the best-known way to secure happy, prosperous futures. A dedicated advocate for the future of Northeast Wisconsin, he created the community, the action, the passion, and commitment he wanted, and we all needed – and we are all better for it. His energy, inspiration and leadership were legend. We will miss his focus and his dedication to our community and its prosperous future. We will miss his humble curiosity, but our sense of loss is tempered by a greater sense of gratitude. Click tribute to Phil Hauck.

“Hollowing Out The State”

Heidi Selberg, Envision Board Member and Upward Mobility Signals Team

Our team’s previous reports have shown the importance of public policy in supporting upward mobility.  Judy Nagel’s reports have outlined international comparisons, demonstrating that several government policies related to childcare, health, and other matters are critical to those countries’ higher rates of upward mobility. But what if upward mobility in the U.S. is not accelerating because our institutions are becoming weaker?