Northeast and Midwest raises a host of social policy issues for local governments.
The authors note the dearth of studies that attempt to identify the sources of variation in rates of aging among different localities. Certainly, migration patterns of both the elderly and nonelderly play an important role. Migration among older people appears less responsive to the economic motives that are paramount among younger people. In particular, the principal motives for migration at ages 70 and over appear to be related to family proximity and diminished health. The possibility of migration obviously affects older people's opportunities with respect to caregiving, coresidence, and economic status in ways that need to be better reflected in research.
Linda Martin and Kevin Kinsella in Chapter 10 revisit many of the themes of the preceding eight chapters, but they focus on research in developing countries. Apart from Africa, many of these countries are aging as rapidly as the United States, and many of the same processes are apparent. For example, age at retirement seems to be declining as incomes rise, and residence of elderly people with their children is also declining, at least in Asia, which has been the subject of the most research. As in the United States, older people with more income are more likely to be living apart from their children. However, coresidence is still the norm, and children appear to provide a higher share of income for the elderly in Asia than is or perhaps ever was the case in the West. The authors emphasize the shortage of research and research materials in developing countries. Much of what is known is the result of censuses and a limited number of one-round cross-sectional surveys. The longitudinal studies that are providing so much detail on health, labor force, and family processes in the United States are almost completely absent in developing countries. The neglect of aging research in Latin America is especially surprising in view of the rapid aging of its population and its sizable number of social scientists.
The field of the demography of aging, an offspring of mixed parentage, is rapidly approaching maturity as a subdiscipline with recognizable themes and approaches. This volume provides a kind of inventory of progress to date. Whatever success it achieves is attributable to a group of authors who were unusually diligent, perceptive, and cooperative. The editors are most grateful.
United Nations 1993 World Population Trends and Prospects: The 1992 Revision. New York: United Nations.