In-Class Assignment Study Guide

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16 Mar 2011

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Session 6: Changing age & family structures
What we learned before is that every country has a different structure in the
composition of age and sex
We should talk more about this today
Age stratification means that there are certain age groups that are different in their
composition regarding social and economic factors, and as well as factors like
prestige in the country or society in question
Could you think about situations or aspects of human society in which these
different age groups play a role? Any human aspects in a country or society that
might be attached to different age or sex groups?
oSocial retirement, job loss, marriage, graduation
oDemographic marriage, death, birth
oEconomic retirement, job loss, marriage, graduation
With all these different aspects of life, there are certain prestige connected to these
aspects, and this stratifies life into different age groups
In earlier ages, you only have three strata: infancy, adulthood, and old age
However nowadays, it is more stratified (7 strata) infancy, childhood, adolescence,
young adulthood, middle age, young old, and old old
In earlier ages, they had more time to acquire this knowledge
In middle ages, it is quite common that a very short period of infancy of being a
child, you were put into work and had to work when you were 10 years old or earlier
on your farm or in the business of your father and you worked until the end of your
life or werent physically able to work anymore at which time you are in your old
Nowadays, it looks a bit different, you have 7 different strata and each of those age
strata, you experience different life aspects and are treated differently in the society
you are in
Different life events affect you in these strata
In adolescence phase nowadays, you wouldnt expect to marry, and if it happens, it is
not appreciated by the social order in the society you are living in
To these age strata is different statuses and social roles
This whole process of moving from one strata to the next one and adhere to the social
roles and to acquire the social statuses, this is called socialization processes
Talking about different age and sex groups in relation to population geography, you
might want to think about age cohorts = groups of people who are born at the same
time and then move to these different age strata at the same time
We can think of all people born in 1960, and they will experience the same type of
life events at the same period of time
What you can get here is that age structure of society or a country is quite closely
bound to the social structure of this society or country
Lets now talk about different sexes and how this affects population geography:
oSex = biological category
oGender = social category
oHow would gender and sex affect population geography?
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oEffect of sex = biology has effect on more men than women born
oIn society, there are more men than women born, however men die early
oMortality of men is higher at any age than the mortality for women
oSex ratio = (proportion of men / proportion of women) x 100
oIf sex ratio is 110, for every 110 men born, there is 100 women born
oIt is because higher number of men die, so society wants to compensate for it
How to interpret this diagram?
What you can see here are three sex ratios for three countries: Ghana, USA, and
Line for China is higher, which means sex ratio for China is higher, which means
more men than women this is a social aspect, this has to do with preference for
sons over daughters, and it is the effect of the one-child policy of China
Males die more rapidly than females in the old ages for all countries
Why do you think more countries go for social control of the sexes even in countries
where there is a preference for sons?
There are some countries like China who have a preference for sons over daughters
and use technical solutions like abortion
Even in countries with preference for sons like India or Korea, we dont see a lot of
use of these technical solutions to have sons over daughters religious reasons and
cultural practices and preferences
What we also keep in mind is what happens if sex ratio is continuous more men
than women
If we assume humankind acted in the last thousands of years, then males want to
find females and females want to find men, if there are suddenly more men, then
this is more difficult for females
It might create more homosexuality
If less women, can bear less children given the fertility rate is the same
Can allow for immigration so that surplus men can find partners from outside of the
It definitely fuels to prostitution activities because men struggle over the women
Scholars suggest that the masculinisation of child more than women might produce
quite a lot of problems in China, as well as it might arise some international
conflicts in the future
We have a feminization of old age constantly rising share of women over the last
couple of decades in countries where demographic transition took place already
In US in 1930s, we have sex ratio of 100 for ages 65+, this went down to 70 now
Why doesnt immigration or migration equalize this ratio?
oPossibly more female refugees and widows
oAging population from the baby boom
oNowadays, both males and females are allowed to immigrate to the US, but
we dont have surplus of males to equalize the ratio, and immigrants that
immigrate to US are quite young, thats why they dont play a role in the ratio
because it is just for ages 65+
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Population pyramids 1994
Demographic transition = decline in mortality rates followed by decline in fertility
If we have a decline in mortality rates, we have a decline in population pyramids,
children become older ages
If we have a decline in fertility rates, we will have more people at the top and less
children because mortality rate is shrinking
If demographic transition takes place in full, then we end up with something called
rectangularization of the population pyramid
Old age
Most old people live in most dense countries China, India, US
These countries should think about immigration of younger people
What old age is is defined at every point in time differently, definition of old age
changed a lot
In 1950s, old age meant that you stopped working and perhaps have one to four
years of pleasure and then you would die was when social system of retirement
was introduced to help old people at age of 60s to live in decent way for the last few
years of their life
Nowadays, life expectancy is up to 80 years in Canada and other countries, but
people still retire at 65, that means the time spent from retirement to death is much
Young old are still healthy and can enjoy their leisure time after working and even
can be working in a second job
Only the old old rely on the health system, cannot work anymore, and cannot usually
produce any economic good to the country they are in
Compare China to Mexico
There are declining mortality rates for China, declining fertility rates from 1990 to
2020 in China
In Mexico, the mortality rates decrease
Chinese elite economy is booming, age group between 30-50 who can produce
economic output and who dont have to take care of children this is called economic
default effect
Second Demographic Transition
= The term for the changing of femininity and changing family structure
We discussed certain aspect of life that can affect age composition of a country,
however we can turn it around and ask what demographic effects can have on people
What happens to different aspects of life: graduation, marriage
Due to economic and sanitation improvement, the death rate declined this made it
possible that women were not only there to bear children and to raise children
There is a unique possibility nowadays that women can choose to bear children in
certain countries or they want to pursue their job careers
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