Exploring Society By The Numbers

Poverty Status in the United States among Non-Institutionalized Older Adults

Tariqah A. Nuriddin, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Howard University
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Summary

The purpose of this in-class group project/data module is to explore the implications of socio-economic disadvantage on a growingly racially and ethnically diverse aging population in America. This is referred to as “The Browning and Graying of America”. By 2050, it is estimated that the ethnic minority population of America will almost surpass that of the majority White population which will be an increasingly older group. This module provides a tabular representation of the Browning and Graying of America using census data from the year 2000 of a sample of 32,963,282 American older adults (65 years of age and older) by race/ethnicity and poverty status.

Learning Goals

1- To engage students in quantitative reasoning which challenges them to think critically about various social problems such as poverty and challenge existing ways of examining social phenomena
2- To prepare students to recognize changing demographic patterns and their subsequent effect on the United States population
3- To help students better understand their place in modern day society by using a sociological lens

Context for Use

The current data module is intended as a handout for an undergraduate in-class group activity which lasts approximately 35-45 minutes. It is primarily designed for freshman and sophomore students taking Introduction to Sociology who are often novice researchers. The project will be most beneficial to utilize after a discussion of Sociological theory and methods. It also ties into other key concepts such as social inequality and stratification, economics, politics, and the familiy.

Description and Teaching Materials

The attachment provided includes the full in-class group project handout complete with a data table from the Data Counts website, related data module questions, and a subsequent learning assessment.
SSDAN 2010 DATA MODULE 1 (Microsoft Word 48kB Nov1 10)



Teaching Notes and Tips

Questions 7 through 10 of the assignment are designed to allow for students to engage in critical thinking. As such, students may have challenges or difficulty answering the questions and may ask for further clarification. It is advised that students think through the questions provided and provide answers in light of course material and class discussion.

Assessment

Students will complete an anonymous mandatory learning assessment immediately following project completion. In order to capture diversity of student opinions, additional space will be provided for students to share their thoughts about the assignment in an open-ended format.

References and Resources

http://ssdan.net/datacounts/index.html

DataCounts is a compilation of various datasets and other related modules designed to infuse quantitative data analysis into course curriculum. Since it is interactive in nature, students are encouraged to explore different datasets and variables of interest thereby fostering active learning instead of passive learning.
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