The Graying of America

The Graying of America - • Ageism — prejudice and...

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The Graying of America • By 1900, the 3 million seniors past the age of sixty-five made up just 4 percent of the population. However, that share doubled by 1950 and will double again by 2020, to about 55 million elders. This trend, by which the elderly population is increasing at a faster rate than the population as a whole, is called “the graying of America.” • The number of elderly is increasing for three reasons: 1) 76 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are getting older 2) Life expectancy has increased as a result of better medical care, sanitation, nutrition, and housing improvements 3) Lowered birthrates contribute to a higher percentage of the elderly • By the year 2030, there will be 70 million elderly in the United States, making up 20 percent of the total population and more than two times the number of elderly in 1997. Problems Associated with Aging
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Unformatted text preview: • Ageism — prejudice and discrimination against people on the basis of age—is a social problem that particularly stigmatizes and marginalizes older people. • Age stratification refers to the inequalities, differences, and segregation between age groups that occurs throughout the life course. It is a determinant of how education, jobs, and other scarce resources and opportunities are allocated in society. • Age stratification also limits roles and opportunities. People automatically assume that at age fourteen, a person should be in school; that at age thirty, a person should be married; and that at age sixty-five, a person should retire from full-time employment. Such perceptions about age may create problems for people in all age categories, but the problems typically are most pronounced among older people....
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