Does an Aging US Population Predict a Decline in New Businesses?

by / Wednesday, 06 August 2014 / Published in US Economy

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A recent article on Vox.com raised an interesting point about the aging of the baby boomer generation in relation to entrepreneurship in the US.  As the Boomer generation has passed middle age, the number of American businesses that are over 15 years old has also been steadily gaining since the 90’s. Conversely, the proportion of younger businesses has gone down. When reconciled against the idea of prime business founding years being in a person’s late 30’s to early 40’s, the trend seems to make sense as demonstrating a dip in new entrepreneurship that is directly linked to the aging population.

Does age really have a bearing on entrepreneurship? It can be hard to say whether or not a person’s age has the potential to influence their ability to be successful when there are so many other factors involved in making it as an entrepreneur. There are also plenty of examples to point to that would suggest age is not the defining factor in an entrepreneurs success, in the form of business owners who are either younger or older than the “sweet spot” of early middle age. That being said, it’s ostensible that it can be a lot easier to found a business after having created a base of industry experience and connections. The appearance of being an established authority in business is another boon that is more likely to support the idea of a prime business founding age.

With so may new entrepreneurs entering the workforce, perhaps a spike in new businesses is just down the road. On the other side of the coin to the aging of the Boomer generation is the entry of the Millennial generation to the workforce. If early middle age is indeed entrepreneurial prime time, then in a decade a major spike in business creation could be around the corner. Millennials are being hired now into entry level positions, and generations with different perspectives on what it means to be part of a workforce are coming together. It’s up to current small business owners to reconcile differences in order to create a working environment that is able to foster the entrepreneurs of the future.

 

Photo Credit to Alan Cleaver on Flickr

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