Social research on global aging is a rapidly growing field. The goal of this chapter is to highlight emerging lines of inquiry that are likely to have an important impact on science and discusses challenges that have hindered progress. The aggregate demographic features that drive global aging are discussed. Current patterns and future trends in low-income countries with respect to three dimensions of aging: health; work and retirement; and living arrangements and transfers are shown. Changes in age structures have important implications for education and work opportunities, taxation of earnings and wealth, savings and insurance vehicles, and how earnings are taxed. Life expectancy is largely driven by deaths at early ages and so increases in life expectancy have presaged major shifts in the global burden of disease. Biological markers of health status have revolutionized research on population health, but relying exclusively on those markers and health-related behaviors limits progress on understanding global aging. Efforts to conduct population-based studies that measure other dimensions of health in the developing world have increased knowledge of health conditions, particularly for children and women of reproductive age. The evidence on the health of men and older adults is more fragmented. The field of global aging is in its infancy. It is an exciting area for innovative research as it provides unparalleled opportunities for making major contributions to both policy and science. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
Frankenberg, E; Thomas, D
Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences
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