Below is a complimentary Demography Unplugged research note written by Hedgeye Demography analyst Neil Howe. Click here to learn more and subscribe.

Be sure to check out his highly anticipated new book, The Fourth Turning is Here, which is now available for purchase.

Neil Howe: Both Parties Turning Off News for Different Reasons - Media Cartoon

Around the world, people are less engaged with digital news than ever before. In fact, many individuals actively ignore the media altogether. (The Reuters Institute

The Reuters Institute, a UK think tank, just released its 2023 report on global news consumption. And its findings show that people are increasingly unengaged with digital news.

According to their survey, only 22% of adults actively consume online news. This is close to the same share of individuals who pay for news services (17%). This group tends to be highly educated, highly partisan, and male. Conversely, 44% don’t consume online news at all. In the UK and US, the share who comment on news stories or share them has fallen by -10 percentage points since 2016.

Moreover, news avoidance is on the rise. In 2017, only 29% of individuals admitted to actively avoiding the news. In 2023, that share rose +7 percentage points to 36%. Women are more likely to avoid the news than men (39% vs. 33%).

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In the US, news avoidance by topic is highly partisan. Conservatives are 3X more likely than liberals to avoid news on social justice issues and 5X more likely to avoid news on climate change. Conversely, liberals are 2X more likely than conservatives to avoid news on crime and 3X more likely to avoid news on business or finance. Interestingly, science news is the least avoided by both groups. 

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Neil Howe is a renowned authority on generations and social change in America. An acclaimed bestselling author and speaker, he is the nation's leading thinker on today's generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America's future.

A historian, economist, and demographer, Howe is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. He is a senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., where he helps direct the CSIS Global Aging Initiative.

Howe has written over a dozen books on generations, demographic change, and fiscal policy, many of them with William Strauss. Howe and Strauss' first book, Generations, is a history of America told as a sequence of generational biographies. Vice President Al Gore called it "the most stimulating book on American history that I have ever read" and sent a copy to every member of Congress. Newt Gingrich called it "an intellectual tour de force." Of their book, The Fourth Turning, The Boston Globe wrote, "If Howe and Strauss are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets." The follow-up book, The Fourth Turning Is Here, is available now.

Howe and Strauss originally coined the term "Millennial Generation" in 1991, and wrote the pioneering book on this generation, Millennials Rising. His work has been featured frequently in the media, including USA Today, CNN, the New York Times, and CBS' 60 Minutes.

Previously, with Peter G. Peterson, Howe co-authored On Borrowed Time, a pioneering call for budgetary reform and The Graying of the Great Powers with Richard Jackson.

Howe received his B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and later earned graduate degrees in economics and history from Yale University.