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Population Aging and Social Policy


Uhlenberg, Peter (1992). Population Aging and Social Policy. Annual Review of Sociology, 18, 449-474.


The author examines current demographic trends in developed countries and finds that they may force us to challenge the existing arrangement in which pre-retirement adults entirely support the aged. "Not only is the ratio of the older to younger adults increasing, but also an increasing proportion of adults entering old age have the ability to make significant contributions (i.e. they are well educated, healthy, economically secure, and politically astute). Concern over this growing mismatch between older people's abilities and the roles they are expected to fill leads to a discussion of social policy. How might social policy increase the productivity of the elderly and/or reduce the burden of supporting a growing dependent older population. Three major categories of policies responsive to this question are considered. The outcome of these policy debates will significantly shape the future of aging in the United States."


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Annual Review of Sociology


Uhlenberg, Peter