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

35 States Now Require Personal Finance Classes. What's Behind the Spike? - grad

Since the pandemic ended, an increasing number of states require students to take a personal finance course. A similar spike in state mandates occurred after the Global Financial Crisis.

According to the Council for Economic Education, 35 states now mandate high schoolers take a class in personal finance before graduation. That’s 12 more states than in 2022. Currently, 72% of all US students must take one of these courses.

35 States Now Require Personal Finance Classes. What's Behind the Spike? - howe map

In 1998, Illinois was the only state that required personal finance classwork. But the popularity of these courses surged after the GFC. Young Millennials often petitioned for these classes. They wanted to be prepared for an uncertain economic future and learn how to join the “middle class” — a life goal their Boomer parents disdained.

Once again, we see rising interest in personal finance amidst widespread economic pessimism. While Homelanders will appreciate these classes, the rise in mandates is more a reflection on today’s parents. Xers and Millennials want their children to learn the practical skills underlying competent “adulting.” These are skills that their own Boomer/Silent parents never bothered to teach them.

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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.