Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Longevity: Social Aspects - Survival Curves, Rectangularization Of Mortality, Mortality By Cause, Longer Lives And Better Health, Factors Related To Mortality

Longevity: Social Aspects - Implications Of Past And Future Longevity

age age individuals distribution security

Increased longevity has affected kin ties, retirement, the population age distribution, and overall population size (White and Preston). Added years of life increase opportunities to accumulate life experiences, complete or change roles, extend relationships with others, and increase the potential for rich and complex social networks. Indeed, kinship, friendship, and community networks can be extended and expanded (Riley). Unlike earlier time periods, children born today can expect to survive into young adulthood with all of their siblings, parents, and grandparents. Moreover, it is increasingly common for children to know their great-grandparents and even great-greatgrandparents.

Changes are also afoot in educational and career trajectories. Because of longer lives, many individuals are going to school longer before embarking on a career, and some individuals now plan for multiple careers. Longer lives also mean that most individuals will live to see retirement and will spend a substantial number of years in retirement. These changes abet further change; for example, some retired individuals decide to return to the labor force.

The population age distribution is also changing. In previous centuries, the U.S. age structure resembled a pyramid, with large numbers of individuals at the youngest ages and few individuals at the oldest ages. Today, the distribution approximates a pillar, with similar numbers of individuals in each age. Although there are advantages to this new age distribution, there are also potential disadvantages. For instance, because there is a lower proportion of people in the working years to contribute to Social Security, and a higher proportion of Social Security recipients, the basic age requirement for Social Security is gradually increasing from sixty-five to sixty-seven years of age.

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