Fall 1986 // Volume 24 // Number 3 // Research in Brief // 3RIB1

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All One System


William Boldt
Senior Extension Associate
Cooperative Extension Service
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

All One System. Harold Hodgkinson. Washington, D C.: The Institute for Educational Leadership, Inc., 1001 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Suite 310, 1985.19 pp. $5.50.

Have you read the 1980 census report cover to cover? Are you planning your educational programs with an eye on the future? Are you aware of and will you be ready for the changes that will transform Extension's educational marketplace? If you have answered no to any of these questions, then Hodgkinson's demographic research report, All One System, will be helpful to you.

Hodgkinson crunches volumes of demographic data into a short, relevant report that all Extension educators should read and reread.

Highlights of his research include:

  • In 1955, 60% of U.S. families consisted of a working father, a housewife mother, and 2 or more school-age children. In 1980, that family unit represented 11 % of our homes and in 1985 only 7%.
  • Over 65% of women under 65 work; 50% of women with preschool children work.
  • 59% of children born in 1983 will live with only 1 parent before reaching age 18. Of every 100 children born today:
    • 12 will be born out of wedlock.
    • 40 will be born to parents who divorce before the child is 18.
    • 5 will be born to parents who separate.
    • 2 will be born to parents of whom one will die before the child reaches 18.
    • 41 will reach age 18 "normally."
  • Every day in America 40 teenage girls give birth to their thirdchild.
  • The U.S. is experiencing a baby bust for white families (1.7 children per female) and a baby boom for many non-white ethnic groups (2.4 children per black female, 2.9 per Hispanic female).
  • In the year 2000, 1 out of every 3 Americans will be non-white. And, minorities will cover a broader socioeconomic range than ever before, making simplistic treatment of their needs even less useful.
  • Today's rapidly aging white middle-class society will find its retirement income generated by an increasingly non-white work force.
  • A majority of the 70 million people born between 1946 and 1964 have completed their formal education and are seeking relevant informal educational opportunities that fit into their hectic family and work schedules.
  • Most major corporations and institutions include an educational arm. Currently, over 10,000,000 workers are taking 18,000,000 courses each year, most of them offered "in house" by the company's own educational staff. Many education experts regard this trend as the tip of the iceberg in informal education.

Hodgkinson recommends that we make special efforts to:

  1. Pay attention to the rapidly growing non-white ethnic population; recognize the barriers of color, language, culture, attitude; and design educational programs that meet the needs of nonwhite audiences with a special focus on youth programming.
  2. Deliver educational programs at the workplace for the industrious "baby boomers."
  3. Design relevant educational programs to meet the needs of the new non-traditional American family.