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Two Statements Before Congressional Committees: The Future of the American Family; Prospective Trends in the Size and Structure of the Elderly Population, Impact of Mortality Trends, and Some Implications

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Report Number P23-78

This report contains two statements that were submitted as part of testimony before congressional committees in May 1978.

Prepared for the Select Committee on Population, U.S. House of Representatives, "The Future of the American Family" analyzes statistics, primarily of the past two decades, to arrive at the conclusion that social changes affecting the American family life will significantly lessen during the next 20 years. Factors discussed include stabilizing birth rates and school enrollment, less increase in labor force participation by women, less postponement of marriage, stabilizing marriage and divorce rates, outlook for one-parent families, living arrangements, and changes in the family life cycle.

The second statement in this publication, "Prospective Trends in the Size and Structure of the Elderly Population, Impact of Mortality Trends, and Some Implications," was presented at a joint meeting of the Select Committee on Population and the Select Committee on Aging, U.S. House of Representatives.

Analytical text and detailed tables cover projections for the elderly population (for purposes of this discussion, persons 65 years old and over) to the year 2040. The report notes that, beginning about 1985, there will be a sharp drop in the rate of increase in the elderly for some two decades because of the rapid drop in births between 1920 and 1940. The relative contribution of changes in fertility and mortality to the changes in the number of elderly persons are discussed, along with such other topics as age and sex composition of the elderly population, male and female mortality differences, racial differences in life expectancy, causes of death, and gains in life expectancy through elimination of specified causes of death. Socioeconomic implications resulting from demographic changes in the elderly population are also described.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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