Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Baby Boomers and Drug Use, Etc

At first glance, this is a fascinating op/ed piece in Monday's The New York Times called "This is Your (Father's) Brain on Drugs."

The premise is that teenagers are more responsible and have fewer drug arrests and binge drinking activities than today's 42-61 year-old Boomers. The data presented makes for a compelling story.

But the name of the author, Mike Males, rang a bell with us and we remembered he's a sociology professor at UC Santa Cruz and has been trying to "set the record straight" about today's Boomers for years. Here's a profile of him from the Los Angeles Times Magazine from last year.

Since at least 2004 he has been writing a new book, Boomergeddon, about the coming fall of Boomers. We can't find it on, so perhaps he's still working on it. He's appeared in several articles bashing Boomers (including this diatribe from earlier this year, Boomtastrophe) trying to get his message across.

We don't doubt that Boomers who experimented (and enjoyed) mind-altering drugs in the 1960's are still looking for a way to enhance their reality through a pill, booze or a joint. But some of his comparative statistics about increases in arrests and prison populations don't take into consideration that there are simply millions more Boomers than previous generations.

For example, in 1990 there were only 25,223,086 people age 45-54 alive in the United States. According to the U.S. Census, there are an estimated 43,834,784 alive today. That's a 75% increase in the number of people in that age range. So what's the big surprise that the larger population has produced more criminals than the smaller population would have back in 1990?

Now, we're not trying to explain away all his statistics, but just cautioning our readers to not get too swayed by his argument that we're all going to hell, sooner rather than later. Most Boomers probably believe there is still time to clean up their ways before it is too late. Plus, if Keith Richards is still alive, there's hope for the rest of us.

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Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.