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Lynch, Scott M.; Brown, J. Scott; & Taylor, Miles G. (2009). Demography of Disability.. Uhlenberg, Peter (Ed.) (pp. 567-582). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.


The study of mortality was the foundation on which the discipline of demography was built. Over the past several decades, mortality research has expanded to include not only consideration of the remaining years of life individuals in contemporary society can expect to have but also consideration of the quality of that remaining life individuals can anticipate. A key determinant of quality of life, especially in later life, is health. In later life, it is expected that health declines and so a major concern of demographers has become the assessment of the prevalence of poor health at both individual and societal levels. Aside from health conditions that threaten survival, in later life a key issue is physical limitation that arises in part from health conditions that result from natural processes of aging and the social context within which they are experienced. At older ages, eyesight and hearing fade, joints stiffen and weaken, circulation becomes impaired, lung capacity declines, bone density diminishes and as a result, the prevalence of overall physical limitations tends to increase. Not all individuals experience declines in functioning but many do. The demography of disability is primarily concerned with understanding this decline in later-life functioning and is increasingly focused on inter-individual differences (i.e., heterogeneity) in this process.


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International Handbooks of Population


Lynch, Scott M.
Brown, J. Scott
Taylor, Miles G.