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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Disney Demographics: Kids Have Been Slow Growth, While Growth Has Been Robust Among the Gray-Haired Set

Review/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
January 11, 2019

Walt Disney World opened in October 1971, at the time featuring the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, and the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. To say that things have grown over the past near-three decades would be stating what is painfully obvious. 

But one of the major changes worth highlighting is the rather dramatic shift in emphasis at Walt Disney World. Specifically, while Disney World remains a fantastic destination for families with children, it also has become, and continues to develop as a top vacation spot for adults of all ages. Of course, it helps that those adults remain kids at heart.

When we review growth in the U.S. population by age, it’s easy to see why Disney, while still very much catering to the kids, has embraced adults in a big Mickey Mouse hug as well.

Consider the age make-up of the U.S. population over the years. The numbers are presented in Table 1.

Table 1: U.S. Population by Age for Select Years (numbers in millions)
Total
19 & under
19 & under
20-44
20-44
Population
Number
Share of Pop.
Number
Share of Pop.
1970
203.2
77.0
37.90%
64.4
31.70%
1980
227.1
72.5
31.90%
84.5
37.20%
1990
248.7
71.3
28.70%
99.8
40.10%
2000
281.4
80.5
28.60%
104.0
37.00%
2010
308.7
83.3
27.00%
103.7
33.60%
2017
325.7
82.2
25.20%
108.4
33.30%
45-64
45-64
65 and over
65 and over
Number
Percent of Pop
Number
Share of Pop.
1970
41.8
20.60%
20.0
9.80%
1980
44.5
19.60%
25.5
11.30%
1990
46.7
18.80%
31.2
12.60%
2000
62.0
22.00%
35.0
12.40%
2010
81.5
26.40%
40.3
13.00%
2017
84.4
25.90%
50.9
15.60%


In 1970, the year before the Magic Kingdom came online, the U.S. population was over 203 million, including some 77 million people 19 years old or younger. This group of children and teenagers made up 37.9 percent of the population.

Jump ahead to 2017, for example, and children and teens accounted for only 25.2 percent of the U.S. population. And over this time, the decline has been rather steady. 

Meanwhile, the 20-44-years-old group inched up from 31.7 percent of the population in 1970 to 33.3 percent in 2017. However, this group did make up 40 percent of the population in 1990, and has been shrinking since.

The 45-64-years-old set jumped from 20.6 percent to 25.9 percent of the population. But here the changes have been uneven, declining form 1970 to 1990, rising from 1990 to 2010, and then a small decline. 

And the 65-and-over folks leaped up from 9.8 percent in 1970 to 15.6 percent in 2017 – with the rise being rather steady along the way.

However, there’s more to consider in these numbers, namely, the straightforward growth in each group. In fact, in terms of total numbers, each group grew from 1970 to 2017, along with the overall U.S. population.

Table 2: Percent Growth in Population, 1970 to 2017
Age Group
         Growth from 1970 to 2017
19 & under
7%
20-44 years old
68%
45-64 years old
102%
65 years old and over
155%
Total Population
60%


From 1970 to 2017, the U.S. population grew by 60 percent. Looking at age groups, what matters is how each group expanded compared to that overall increase. The 65-and-over group jumped by an astounding 155 percent, followed by growth of 102 percent among those in the 45-to-64 group, and 68 percent in the 20-44-years-old group. Meanwhile, the number of people 19 years old or younger did grow, but only by 7 percent between 1970 and 2017.

So, America is getting grayer, and yes, much of this is about the Baby Boomers, and about Americans generally having fewer children. Other factors have come into play – such as immigration – and they will continue to matter going forward.

No doubt, the children bring families to Disney World, and that will continue to be the case. But kids, quite frankly, have been the slow-growth group. As a result, there’s much more for adults to enjoy, not only as parents and grandparents, but just by going on vacation without any children in the equation at all. That’s what the numbers tell Disney, and they’re executing accordingly.


Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Storyand Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Disney Weekend Links: Interesting Reads and More


News/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
January 12, 2019

Here are a few items worth exploring this weekend regarding Disney selling regional sports networks; Disney’s Florida land purchases; the return of Lasseter; Disney and a recession; and population changes and Disney.

Fox Not Interested in Buying Back Regional Sports from Disney

The Hollywood Reporter and other new outlets have reported that New Fox isn’t interested in buying back the regional sports networks Disney must sell under the Fox deal. However, private equity firms Apollo Global Management, KKR and Blackstone Group, and Sinclair Broadcast Group reportedly are in the mix.

Disney’s Florida Land Purchases

Disney shelled out $34 million for two land purchases that apparently will be for “water conservation and wetland mitigation,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Lasseter Back to Head Up Skydance Animation

Amid controversy, given his departure from Disney and Pixar, John Lasseter is back to head up Skydance Animation.

Disney and a Recession?

DisneyBizJournal.com evaluates how worried Disney and the rest of Hollywood should be about a possible recession.

Population, Age and Disney

As the make-up of the U.S. population skews older, Disney has responded accordingly.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, Heroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.