Uhlenberg, Peter (1988). Does Population Aging Produce Increasing Gerontocracy?. Sociological Forum, 3(3)
As the population of the United States grows older, we might expect the role of the elderly to change. Among the many questions that could be asked about changes in the age stratification system, here we focus on the engagement of older persons in leadership roles. The period covered is roughly 1940 to the present, and the areas of leadership examined are representation in Congress and in professional and managerial occupations. If age-specific rates of representation remain constant over time, the proportion of leadership positions filled by older persons will increase at the same pace that the proportion of the adult population age sixty-five and over is increasing. On the other hand, if changes are occurring in the age stratification system, the role of the elderly in leadership may be either decreasing or increasing more rapidly than the population is aging. The data examined here show that over the past several decades the engagement of older persons in leadership positions has declined rapidly.