Vulnerability 2030: Scenarios on Vulnerability in the United States
The Great Recession of 2008–2010 has expanded the ranks and deepened the suffering of vulnerable populations. Prior to this recession there were mixed signals—some populations were doing better, while others remained marginal in their income and in their access to employment, food, effective education and health care. So much change in just a few years is a reminder that there is no single, certain future to plan for. There are many plausible alternative futures, and planning for just one set of assumed future circumstances is likely to miss the mark. We need to think about the forces that will shape the future of vulnerability, the different ways that future might unfold, and the kind of actions today that would be most effective across a variety of different future conditions.
This report sets out alternative scenarios of how our society and the vulnerable populations within it could change over the next two decades. We believe these alternatives are all possible, but they range well beyond what people usually allow themselves to consider. They explore four different pathways: an expectable or “most likely” future, a challenging or “hard times” future, and two different paths to surprising success in reducing vulnerability, or “visionary” scenarios.