Neil Howe (born October 21, 1951) is an American historian, economist, and demographer. He is best known for his work with William Strauss on social generations and generational cycles in American history. He is currently the president of LifeCourse Associates, a consulting company he founded with Strauss to apply their generational theory. He is also a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Global Aging Initiative, and a senior advisor to the Concord Coalition.
Howe was born in Santa Monica, California. His grandfather was the astronomer Robert Julius Trumpler. His father was a physicist and his mother was a professor of occupational therapy. He attended high school in Palo Alto, California, and earned a BA in English Literature at U.C. Berkeley in 1972. He studied abroad in France and Germany, and later earned graduate degrees in economics (M.A., 1978) and history (M.Phil., 1979) from Yale University.
After receiving his degrees, Howe worked in Washington, D.C., as a public policy consultant on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. His positions have included advisor on public policy to the Blackstone Group, policy advisor to the Concord Coalition, and senior associate for the Global Aging Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
During the 1990s, Howe developed a second career as a historian and sociologist, examining how generational differences shape attitudes, behaviors, and the course of history. He has since written nine books on social generations, mostly with William Strauss. In 1997 Strauss and Howe founded LifeCourse Associates, a publishing, speaking, and consulting company built on their generational insights. As president of LifeCourse, Howe currently provides marketing, personnel, and government affairs consulting to corporate and nonprofit clients, and writes and speaks about the collective personalities of today’s generations.
Howe lives in Great Falls, Virginia, and has two grown children.
Howe has written a number of scholarly and popular books on both demographic and generational trends, all of which remain in print.
He is best known for his books with William Strauss on generations in American history. These include Generations (1991) and The Fourth Turning (1997) which examine historical generations and identify a cycle of recurring mood eras in American History (now known as the Strauss-Howe generational theory). Howe and Strauss also co-authored 13th Gen (1993) about Generation X, and Millennials Rising (2000) about the Millennial Generation. Eric Hoover has called the authors pioneers in a burgeoning industry of consultants, speakers and researchers focused on generations. He wrote a critical piece about the concept of "generations" and the "Millennials" (a term coined by Strauss and Howe) for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Michael Lind offered his critique of Howe's book "Generations" for the New York Times.
Howe has written a number of application books with Strauss about the Millennials’ impact on various sectors, including Millennials Go to College (2003, 2007), Millennials and the Pop Culture (2006), and Millennials and K-12 Schools (2008). After Strauss died in 2007, Howe has also authored Millennials in the Workplace (2010).
In his career as a demographer and policy advisor, Howe has published a number of additional books. In 1988 he coauthored On Borrowed Time with Peter G. Peterson, one of the early calls for budgetary reform (the book was reissued 2004). Since the late 1990s, Howe has also coauthored a number of academic studies published by CSIS, including the Global Aging Initiative’s Aging Vulnerability Index and The Graying of the Middle Kingdom: The Economics and Demographics of Retirement Policy in China. In 2008, he co-authored The Graying of the Great Powers with Richard Jackson.
- On Borrowed Time (1988)
- Generations (1991)
- 13th-GEN (1993)
- The Fourth Turning (1997)
- Global Aging: The Challenge of the Next Millennium (1999)
- Millennials Rising (2000)
- The 2003 Aging Vulnerability Index (2003)
- Millennials Go To College (2003, 2007)
- The Graying of the Middle Kingdom (2004)
- Millennials and the Pop Culture (2005)
- Long-Term Immigration Projection Methods (2006)
- Millennials and K-12 Schools (2008)
- The Graying of the Great Powers (2008)
- Millennials in the Workplace (2010)
- Howe, Neil. "Profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved 10/4/2010. Check date values in:
- Howe, Neil; Jackson, Richard; Rebecca Strauss, Keisuke Nakashima (2008). The Graying of the Great Powers. Center for Strategic and International Studies. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-89206-532-5.
- "Neil Howe". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 10/4/2010. Check date values in:
- Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (1991). Generations:The History of America's Future 1584-2069. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-08133-9.
- Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (1997). The Fourth Turning. New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 0-7679-0046-4.
- Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (1993). 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?. New York: Vintage Print. ISBN 0-679-74365-0.
- Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2000). Millennials Rising. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-375-70719-0.
- Hoover, Eric (2009-10-11). "The Millennial Muddle: How stereotyping students became a thriving industry and a bundle of contradictions". The Chronicle of Higher Education (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc.). Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- Michael Lind (January 26, 1997). "Generation Gaps". New York Times Review of Books. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- Howe, Neil; Reena Nadler (2010). Millennials in the Workplace. LifeCourse Associates. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-9712606-4-1.
- Booknotes interview with Howe and William Strauss on Generations, April 14, 1991