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Summary

The social study of aging uses population data and cohorts to predict social concerns related to aging populations. In the United States, the population is increasingly older (called “the graying of the United States”), especially due to the baby boomer segment. Global studies on aging reveal a difference in life expectancy between core and peripheral nations as well as a discrepancy in nations’ preparedness for the challenges of increasing elderly populations.

Short answer

Baby boomers have been called the “Me Generation.” Do you know any baby boomers? In what way do they exemplify their generation?

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What social issues involve age disaggregation (breakdowns into groups) of a population? What kind of sociological studies would consider age an important factor?

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Conduct a mini-census by counting the members of your extended family, and emphasize age. Try to include three or four generations, if possible. Create a table and include total population plus percentages of each generation. Next, begin to analyze age patterns in your family. What issues are important and specific to each group? What trends can you predict about your own family over the next ten years based on this census? For example, how will family members’ needs and interests and relationships change the family dynamic?

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Further research

Gregory Bator founded the television show Graceful Aging and then developed a web site offering short video clips from the show. The purpose of Graceful Aging is to both inform and entertain, with clips on topics such as sleep, driving, health, safety, and legal issues. Bator, a lawyer, works on counseling seniors about their legal needs. Log onto Graceful Aging for a visual understanding of aging: (External Link)

References

Bannister, Judith, David E. Bloom, and Larry Rosenberg. 2010. Population Aging and Economic Growth in China . Cambridge, MA: The Program on the Global Demography of Aging.

Bartram, L., and B. Roe. 2005. “Dependency Ratios: Useful Policy-Making Tools?” Geriatrics&Gerontology International 5:224–228.

Bierman, Libby. 2011. “The Baby Boom = The BIG Boom in Healthcare.” Forbes , July 22. Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Bookman, Ann, and Delia Kimbrel. 2011. “Families and Elder Care in the Twenty-First Century.” The Future of Children 21:117–140.

Bostrom, Josh. 2005. “Aging Baby Boomers Will Drive Health-Care Innovation.” Infoworld. Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Congressional Budget Office. 2008. “Long-Term Outlook for Medicare, Medicaid and Total Health Care Spending.” Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Farrel, Diana, David Court, Eric Beinhocker, John Forsyth, Ezra Greenberg, Suruchi Shukla, Jonathan Ablett, and Geoffrey Greene. 2008. Talkin' 'Bout My Generation: The Economic Impact of Aging US Baby Boomers . McKinsey Global Institute. Retrieved February 12, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Gerontological Society of America. 2008. “Baby Boomer Health Care Crisis Looms.” Science Daily , April 17. Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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