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New Directions in the Sociology of Aging (2013)

Chapter: Committee on Population

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Suggested Citation:"Committee on Population." National Research Council. 2013. New Directions in the Sociology of Aging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18508.
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COMMITTEE ON POPULATION

The Committee on Population was established by the National Research Council in 1983 to bring the knowledge and methods of the population sciences to bear on major issues of science and public policy. The committee’s mission is to provide unbiased, credible advice to public and private sector based on the most reliable population research. These include studies of the size, territorial distribution, and composition of population, changes therein, and the components of such changes, which include fertility, mortality, migration, and social mobility, and, also, of the social, economic, psychological, and biological determinants and consequences of those states and changes. Committee activities include research syntheses, agenda setting, convening, and communication. The committee also fosters communication between policy makers and researchers in multiple disciplines and policy makers in different countries.

Suggested Citation:"Committee on Population." National Research Council. 2013. New Directions in the Sociology of Aging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18508.
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Suggested Citation:"Committee on Population." National Research Council. 2013. New Directions in the Sociology of Aging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18508.
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Page 301
Suggested Citation:"Committee on Population." National Research Council. 2013. New Directions in the Sociology of Aging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18508.
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Page 302
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The aging of the population of the United States is occurring at a time of major economic and social changes. These economic changes include consideration of increases in the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare and possible changes in benefit levels. Furthermore, changes in the social context in which older individuals and families function may well affect the nature of key social relationships and institutions that define the environment for older persons. Sociology offers a knowledge base, a number of useful analytic approaches and tools, and unique theoretical perspectives that can facilitate understanding of these demographic, economic, and social changes and, to the extent possible, their causes, consequences and implications.

New Directions in the Sociology of Aging evaluates the recent contributions of social demography, social epidemiology and sociology to the study of aging and identifies promising new research directions in these sub-fields. Included in this study are nine papers prepared by experts in sociology, demography, social genomics, public health, and other fields, that highlight the broad array of tools and perspectives that can provide the basis for further advancing the understanding of aging processes in ways that can inform policy. This report discusses the role of sociology in what is a wide-ranging and diverse field of study; a proposed three-dimensional conceptual model for studying social processes in aging over the life cycle; a review of existing databases, data needs and opportunities, primarily in the area of measurement of interhousehold and intergenerational transmission of resources, biomarkers and biosocial interactions; and a summary of roadblocks and bridges to transdisciplinary research that will affect the future directions of the field of sociology of aging.

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