Life Expectancy - minority population is expected to...

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Life Expectancy Life expectancy refers to the number of years the average person can expect to live. Life expectancy has increased dramatically in the U.S. over the course of the last two centuries. In the earliest hunting and gathering societies, living to twenty meant reaching a “ripe old age”; today, however, twenty-year-olds are considered just reaching adulthood. • The government reports that males born today can expect to live seventy-four years while females can expect to live eighty years. The 1996 sex ratio for ages 65 and over was 145 women for every 100 men; at age 85 and over, there were 257 females for every 100 males. Men die at an earlier age than women for both biological and sociological reasons—heart disease, stress, and occupational risk. • Racial minority populations are projected to represent 25 percent of the U.S. elderly population by 2030, up from 13 percent in 1990. While the elderly white population is projected to increase 79 percent between 1997 and 2030, the elderly
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Unformatted text preview: minority population is expected to increase 238 percent in the same time period. Although racial and ethnic minorities have a shorter life expectancy than whites, their increased numbers in the general population are responsible for their higher growth rates of the elderly. How long a person lives is influenced by his or her social class. In general, the higher the social class, the longer the person lives, the fewer the debilitating illnesses, the greater the number of social contacts and friends, the less likely to define oneself as old, and the greater the likelihood of success in adapting to retirement. Higher social class is also related to fewer residential moves, higher life satisfaction, more leisure time, and more positive self-rated health. In short, the higher ones socioeconomic status, the longer, happier, and healthier ones life....
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