Population aging is much in the news, with talk about health care and pensions as the Canadian population ages.

We ask in this talk, based on the speaker'’s current research in Canada and the US, the extent to which population aging is indeed a challenge. We further ask whether population aging is an equal challenge in Canada and the US. How does the current economic situation affect the picture? What about diversity, inequalities and changing family/household living arrangements?

The specific focus in this talk is on the circumstances of those aged 45-64 in Canada and the U.S. in the late 1990s and 2000'’s, how their lives look as they grow older and what policy challenges are posed. Data come from a wide range of sources, and include analysis of two waves in each country of nationally representative surveys, as well as qualitative interviews conducted in late 2009 and 2010.

We find that demographic aging per se matters far less to the prospects of those presently in mid-life in the two countries than the rapidly shifting socio-economic contexts in which they live. Canadians are far less at risk as we age than are Americans.

Speaker: Susan McDaniel

Dr. Susan McDaniel is the Prentice Research Chair in Global Population and Economy, Director of the Prentice Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge. She relocated to Lethbridge in the summer of 2009 from the University of Utah where she was Professor and Senior Investigator in the Institute for Public & International Affairs.

Dr. McDaniel is an internationally known sociologist/social demographer, the author of many books and research articles. She is a frequent advisor on social and science policies both in Canada and elsewhere. She was on faculty at the University of Alberta for 15 years.

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