Demography and Retirement: The Twenty-First Century

By Anna M. Rappaport; Sylvester J. Schieber | Go to book overview

7
Trends in Health Among the American Population

Eileen M. Crimmins and Dominique G. Ingegneri


INTRODUCTION

This paper will address the issue of recent and future trends in health among the American population middle aged and older. At the outset it is useful to acknowledge that not all researchers agree as to the direction of changes in health in the recent past and this disagreement leads to shaky ground on which to predict the future. Acknowledging this, however, we will attempt to join the theory and the data concerning health change in the past into a plausible picture which indicates that in recent years there has been no substantial improvement in self-reported health among the American population. In fact, the 1970's appear to have been years of some deterioration in health; and the first part of the 1980's appear to be years of relative stability in health with some hint of improvement in the most recent years. We have yet to experience any sustained period of improvement in reported health among the middle aged and older population.

In the first section of the paper we will describe the changing relationship between morbidity and mortality in recent years and how this has led to disagreement among researchers as to the expected direction of change in health over the past 25 years. Next we will turn to the issue of measuring change in health. In the third section of the paper we will present data on observed changes in health over a twenty year period. Finally, we will discuss the implications of the recent changes in health for the future.


Why is there a question as to whether health is improving or deteriorating?

Some may wonder how it is possible to question the direction of trends in health when it is obvious that remarkable strides have been made in extending life in recent years. Life expectancy at birth was 74.9 years in 1988, up from 70.2 in 1968; remarkable improvement in only twenty years. Not only has life

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Demography and Retirement: The Twenty-First Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • MEMBERS OF THE PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL v
  • Purpose of the Council vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Overview 1
  • Introduction 1
  • 2: Demographic Change in the United States, 1970-2050 19
  • ENDNOTES 47
  • Stephen C. Goss 53
  • Barry Edmonston 57
  • Introduction 57
  • 3: Expected Changes in the Workforce and Implications for Labor Markets 73
  • Introduction 73
  • Joseph F. Quinn 105
  • 4: Can Our Social Insurance Systems Survive the Demographic Shifts of the Twenty-First Century? 111
  • Introduction 112
  • ENDNOTES 148
  • 5: The Impact of the Demographic Transition on Capital Formation 163
  • Introduction 163
  • ENDNOTES 180
  • Alicia H. Munnell 183
  • 6: Implications of Demographic Change for Design of Retirement Programs 189
  • 7: Trends in Health Among the American Population 225
  • Introduction 225
  • ENDNOTES 242
  • Discussions 243
  • 8: Population Aging and Retirement Policy: An International Perspective 255
  • Introduction 255
  • ENDNOTES 284
  • Robert J. Myers 293
  • Bibliography 297
  • Index 315
  • Contributors 323
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