Modern industrial societies are characterized by long-term declines in fertility and steady increases in life expectancy. Together, these trends result in an aging population. The United States is no exception; since 1969 the median age has risen from 29.4 to a projected 36.4 in the year 2000. This fourth edition of the standard reader on the sociology of aging has been completely revised, with 90 percent new material, to reflect new information and new issues in this rapidly developing field. Students and practicing professionals will find it a lively, accessible overview.