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A newsletter from Biodiversity Project Winter 2013

PUBLI C OPINI ON & COMMUNICATIONS N EWS

Understanding the Baby Boomer Audience

able news shows and morning talk shows frequently Nixon’s presidency, are more likely to vote for Democrats. feature segments about baby boomers. Stories like, “Baby Younger boomers are more likely to vote for Republicans. boomers expected to benefit from health care law”; “What The younger half of the boomer generation came of age baby boomers need to live to 100”; and “Make-up tips for during a period of disillusionment with Democratic baby boomers” fill the airwaves for good President Jimmy Carter and during the reason (even if not all the stories are good). beginning of the popular presidency of The baby boomer generation is defined by Republican Ronald Reagan. the U.S. Census as people born between 1946 • While the percentage of self-described and 1964. This era of relative peace and prosconservative boomers has increased since perity, between the end of World War II and 2000 (from 35% to 42%), they are becomthe start of American combat troops being ing more comfortable with gay marriage. sent to Vietnam, birthed 77 million people. In 1996, boomers opposed gay marriage The oldest baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 by more than two-to-one (66% to 26%). and AARP has estimated that by 2015, 45% In 2011, boomers opposed gay marriage of the population will be 50 years old or older. by a only a modest margin (48% to 42%). There’s no question: baby boomers • Since the 1990s, more boomers (54%) represent a significant segment of the general prefer limited government programs to a population and, as such, a major audience more engaged government (35%). for many environmental and conservation • 50% of boomers said the US was the greatorganizations. As their children leave the est country in the world in a 2011 survey. nest and their financial security (hopefully) Yet, 91% said they were very patriotic. As a significant segment of • While boomers are pessimistic about curstrengthens, baby boomers can be a prime the general population, baby rent events, they are hopeful for the future. audience from which to recruit both volunteers and donors. boomers are a major audience In 2011, 46% of boomers said life in the Biodiversity Project has compiled some for many environmental and US has gotten worse since the 1960s, yet general baby boomer research from groups 48% believe that our nation’s best days are conservation organizations. like Pew Research Center, AARP and the US ahead of us. Census to help paint a picture of this large demographic. These fun statistics only brush the surface of the boomer Though these easy-to-find statistics don’t tell us how baby generation. But from them, and other reports, research and boomers feel about environmental issues, they do tell us about data, we can strategically target communications and messages their values, which is what Biodiversity Project uses to connect to the baby boomers by drawing on some values. For example, audiences to behavior change campaigns. For example: we know that 91% of baby boomers self-identify as patriotic. • A larger majority of baby boomers are white compared with Thus, message that relate to pride in a local place or town or younger generations. In 2011, 73% of boomers were white, endangered species could be salient. 10% were Latino and 11% were black. Compare that with We also know that a slight majority of boomers prefer the Millennial generation (people who are approximately limited government, so messages about personal responsibility, 13-30 years old in 2013), which is 58% white, 20% Latino liberty and fairness might ring true. For example, “We all must and 14% black. do our part to keep Wildwood Park clean because we all benefit • It is very likely that a baby boomer is or has been married. from its walking trails.” Today, 67% are married, 19% are separated or divorced. By researching an audience and connecting messages to their Only 11% have never been married. values, environmental organizations can reach out to baby boomer audiences and bring them into the fold. • Older baby boomers, who came of age during Richard

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Biodiversity Project Winter 2013 Newsletter  

Quarterly Newsletter

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