Productive Aging: Examining Trends in Health and Employment Status by Age
In this assignment, students are asked to use Census data and data from the American Community Survey to examine employment trends by age over time. Students use the quantitative information to document older adults' employment patterns over four decades, the percentage of older adults who have no health problems limiting their ability to work, and trends in employment status for both younger and older adults. Students then prepare a written report interpreting and integrating their results and writing about them in an accessible manner. In addition, students are asked to apply the results by making recommendations to a business and to a non-profit agency.
This assignment was designed for and used in an upper-level undergraduate Sociology of Aging course. It is particularly useful in a sociology of aging or a gerontology course, but could also be useful in an introductory sociology or work and occupations course. Data nicely illustrate the concepts of a tripartioned life course, the standardization of retirement, and the health of older workers. The assignment can also be used to illustrate the potential for productive aging.
- Access and use data from the Census and the American Community Survey to examine the relationship between two variables.
- Interpret a frequency table.
- Interpret a cross-tabulation.
- Use information from a cross-tab to draw conclusions about the relationship between two variables.
- Write clear conclusions based on data, and support these conclusions with numerical evidence.
- Use findings from quantitative data on employment status to discuss implications for "productive aging" initiatives, civic engagement, and labor force participation in later life.
- Use quantitative data to document the tripartitioned life course.
- Apply quantitative data analysis to make relevant policy recommendations.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
ASSIGNMENT - The full assignment for the project, including detailed instructions on accessing the data and completing the report.
GRADING RUBRIC - Sample rubric used when grading the project.
Assignment - pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 49kB Jun14 11)
Assignment - Word (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Jun14 11)