Age has a biological and social classification. Age distinguishes acceptable behavior for different social groups such as the right to vote and the military enlistment age. The entire course of a human life has different social constructions that occur at different times. The aging population in America occurs due to improvements in life expectancy and advances, in healthcare technology. Schulz (2006) cites that the future projection of the elderly living in Eastern and Western Europe is likely to increase. The regions of Northern America and Oceania will experience an increase in the number of the elderly. The rates of the elderly in Northern Africa, Asia, and Latin America will double by 2040 (Schultz, 2006).
The percentage number of elderly living in Sub-Saharan Africa will decrease due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and decrease in fertility. Most of the developed countries have the amenities to support the elderly such as the institutional housing and accessible health care. This translates to a high population of the senior citizens in the countries. The growth population In China will accelerate in the next fifty years (Schulz, 2006). The Chinese will surpass the aging population of United States. This happens due to better medical care and good health conditions that translate to longer lives among the old people in the nation. Chinese men above the age of 65 rely on their family for support together with retirement pension.
The role and status of the elderly has declined to modernization. For example in cultural communities who practice hunting and gathering, the elderly have low status since they fail to contribute towards the production. Industrialization permits the young to access the available opportunities in the technology-based occupations. Old workers in this culture can only perform traditional jobs that have less value and soon become obsolete. In a modern society, the young have social mobility more than the old do. This creates a cultural image that promotes the young people as the old remain backward. Modernization leads to a decline of status among the old people.
Schulz, J. H. (2006). The economics of aging (7th ed.). Westport, Conn.: Auburn House.
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