Forum Speaker Martha Farnsworth Riche
Read the Demography and Diversity Vision Paper (pdf) 1,596 kb
Read the Demography and Diversity Primer Document (pdf) 367 kb
Demographic and Diversity Shifts Will Transform Our Region – Are We Ready?
The character and personality of any place is simply a reflection of the people who inhabit it. So when we ask the question of what kind of place metro Atlanta will be in the future, we are really asking, "Who will our citizens be?"
We are growing older, we are growing more diverse and these are trends that will have profound impacts for the future of Atlanta and its place in the global community.
We know what the trends are, but do we know what we want our region to be given these trends? Think about how these trends will shape the region. What will happen to our economy which needs a steady supply of young workers? What about retirement? Is today’s notion of retirement – that we should encourage older workers to retire to allow a new wave of workers into the workforce – a thing of the past?
How will our growth and the composition of tomorrow’s population impact the urban form and housing policies?
How will we adapt our transportation system to meet the needs of older adults who may no longer be able to drive or those international populations used to greater access to public transportation?
Given that not only will there be more older adults in the future, but they will be living longer as well, what does that mean for health care costs and service provision?
What about those diverse populations who can’t afford health care and thus swell the region’s emergency rooms for non-emergency treatments?
Demography may be destiny, but we get to choose how it shapes the region.
Download the ARC Demography and Diversity report (PDF 367k).
Martha Farnsworth Riche, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, addressed more than 150 participants at "The Changing Face of the Future" Fifty Forward forum, held September 10 at the Morehouse Leadership Center. Said Riche, "Atlanta is incredibly positioned to embrace diversity as a positive force, perhaps the leading city in the country in this regard. Anybody in the world can come to Atlanta and be at home. That is a strength few cities have."
Following Riche’s address, two local experts, Jane Smith, executive director of the Spelman College Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, and Tisha Tallman, president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, joined Riche onstage for a Q&A session with members of the audience. Most of the discussion centered on situations where the benefits of embracing diversity have not yet been realized.
Demographic shifts, along with a record-breaking influx of international residents, signal dramatic changes for metro Atlanta. Watch the video that provoked the discussion at the September, 10 forum, ARC’s "Embracing Change: Metro Atlanta’s Demography and Diversity Future."