Demographic changes. The 1980 census revealed that the composition and distribution of American society was changing. First, the growth rate of the population during the '70s was one of the lowest in U.S. history; the baby boom was clearly over. Divorce became more and more common, as did “nonfamily” households in which people lived together who were not related. The population was getting older, and the mandatory retirement age had been raised from 65 to 70 in 1978. New York State actually lost population during the decade, and population growth was extremely modest in the industrial states of the East and Midwest, causing them to be known as the Rust Belt. In contrast, populations in the Sun Belt — Florida, Texas and the Southwest, and California — grew considerably.
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