My research shows job opportunities are increasing most rapidly in positions that pay less than US$30,000 thanks to automation as well as the growing demand for personal services – and the accompanying low wages. These types of jobs do not share as much in the fruits of economic growth.
But frequent, heavy alcohol consumption accelerates health decline at all stages of life. While most people know that heavy alcohol use leads to liver diseases like cirrhosis, alcohol is also a major contributor to cancer mortality.
Research has shown that there are also significant differences between racial groups when it comes to receiving vaccinations. Among adults, white adults are immunized at higher rates (45%) than black (37%) or Hispanic (34%) adults. This has significant consequences for those populations, as black and Hispanics have higher rates of influenza-related death than white populations. Since unvaccinated children and adolescents may interact more often with older unvaccinated members of these populations, the chances of spreading influenza or other diseases may dramatically increase. Vaccinating the children and adolescents of these groups may provide a buffer of protection for these adults.
Our results have helped us think about future research and implications for practitioners. Persistent depression following spousal loss hinders our ability to cope, so it is important to identify ways to help vulnerable individuals at risk of becoming depressed.
Those who study aging have known for decades that the effects of population aging are most visible in the growing proportion of the population requiring everyday care and assistance, usually by family members. If we aspire to be a society that values families, we need to do a better job supporting the needs of caregivers, particularly those who are the most vulnerable.
Fixing Social Security is not rocket science. There is money available to fix it. Consider the $1.3 trillion of annual tax expenditures that are made each year. While some of these benefit low income households, it is estimated that over half benefit higher income households. Annual expenditures on Social Security are about $946 billion, so taking a knife to tax expenditures that favor the wealthy has promise.
Disciplines in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy promote critical thinking, analytical methods, and empirical skills as the path to understanding the key political, social, and economic issues that dominate our public discussions.
This brings me around to describing the two major thrusts of what I consider the college’s commitment to Diversity - People and Ideas. A college with a diverse population that holds a shared worldview is a failure. Similarly, a college with a diversity of ideas, but little demographic diversity is also a failure. Society is complex, messy, and contested; a lack of diversity of people or ideas will leave our students unprepared for the real world.
Among ageism’s most significant social consequences is its pitting of the young against the old – the two most vulnerable age segments of our population. This strategy deflects our attention from the deep economic divide that profoundly shapes how our entire lives unfold.
Claude Pepper was the most effective advocate for older Americans that our nation has ever seen. He not only created social programs. He drew our nation’s awareness to the moral imperative of collectively addressing the needs of its oldest members.