Demographic trends that will shape U.S. policy in the twenty-first century

Janet M. Wilmoth, Charles F. Longino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This article first reviews recent facts about the size, distribution, and general characteristics of the older adult population. Next, the importance of considering variation in the aging experience is discussed. Then the implications of trends related to American families and women's labor force participation are explored. Finally, the challenges of addressing these trends given projected fiscal pressures are considered. The authors emphasize the diversity that exists among the older adult population and argue that mounting disparities could increase the salience of public programs for certain segments of the older adult population. In addition, even under the best-case scenarios of improving health, lower disability, and declining mortality, the projected increase in the older adult population is likely to place heavy demands on federal, state, and local programs for older adults. Overall, this review of issues related to recent demographic trends provides a foundation for the subsequent articles in this edited volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-288
Number of pages20
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Demographic trends
  • Population aging
  • Public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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