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Sociology of Aging Lecture 4

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Markus Schafer

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Sociology of Aging Class Notes Fall 2012, Class 4 I. Global Variation in Population Aging Review: demographic transition Classic idea: Shift from high fertility/high mortality to low fertility/low mortality. In Western Europe and North America, demographers initially predicted that the trend would be quite manageable—they foresaw a gradual and nearly concurrent decrease in both mortality and fertility. Many people expected that the proportion of people 65+ would not exceed 20%. Events didn’t go entirely as anticipated in the Western world. a. Fertility rates fall below replacement level b. Life expectancy increases c. Populations still often change in a “post-transition” phase d. Populations are not uniform Outside of the developed West, the course of events was even less predictable. Key point: The pace of population aging varies significantly between developed Western nations and the developing world. Examples: 1 Life expectancy at birth, England, 1541-1991 2 Years required for population aged 65+ to double from 7% to 14% of total population Life expectancy and GDP: 1 Data incorporated from Sarah Harper, Ageing Societies, 2006, London: Hodder Education, pg. 39 2 Ibid, pg. 6. Nations with 10% or 20% of their population age 65+ (past and projected) II. Two p
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