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  1. 1

    Income, wealth, and intergenerational economic relations of the aged.

    Holtz-Eakin D; Smeeding TM

    In: Demography of aging, edited by Linda G. Martin and Samuel H. Preston. Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1994. 102-45.

    Panel data from the HRS survey of health and retirement and the AHEAD survey on health and assets were expected to fill in the gaps in knowledge about the welfare of the aged. A remaining unfulfilled data need was identified as consumption data. The past research emphasis has been on income changes rather than on wealth changes in savings and dissavings. Needs assessment has been lacking. Little research was available on the economic needs of the aged and their effect on household budgets, consumption needs, and wealth decumulation. Wealth transfers also have not been well researched. There was little to research about how expectations of wealth transfers affected the decisions of the young and human capital accumulation. Comparable international data would facilitate examination of the interaction between public and private transfers. This article reviewed the relevant literature on the following issues: diversity in the economic status of the elderly, economic trends and future sustainability, the role of intergenerational transfers, and data needs, particularly of forecasting the economic status of the aged. The summary review of the income of the aged found that incomes were similar to the non-aged but showed a wider range. Poverty among the aged was lower than in the general population but higher compared to other industrialized countries. The American population aged 65 years and older had the highest income in the world, but age 75 years revealed the highest proportion of low-income women living alone. The literature on wealth was sparse compared to the literature on income. Little was known about the links between asset holdings and health status and health care expenses or between housing wealth and health status. What data were available covered a period of economic boom between 1983 and 1989.
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  2. 2

    Urbanization and the urban environment.


    Urban health hazards in the rapidly urbanizing areas of developing countries are described, and ways to mitigate them by sustainable development are discussed. Urban health problems are serious in developing countries because population growth is so rapid, diseases of underdevelopment and poverty and of modernization are combined, and resources are so limited. The urban populations in developing countries suffer lack of safe water (25%), sewage disposal (50%), solid waste collection (30-50%), crowded living conditions, inadequate housing, indoor and outdoor air pollution, traffic, noise, and effluents from industry. These conditions result in high prevalence of asthma, bronchitis, diarrhea, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, meningitis, as well as stress, mental illness, accidents, violence, antisocial behavior, drug and alcohol abuse. Sustainable development for cities implies that meeting the needs of today's people will not compromise the life of future generations. This is difficult in cities because sustainable urban development must be linked to rural development. The more populous and spread-out the city and the richer its inhabitants, the larger is its demand on resources and the larger is the area from which it draws. Thus deforestation and soil erosion in rural areas result from city demands, but impoverish rural people, causing them to migrate to the city. Many rapidly growing South And Central American cities are sited in fragile ecozones where sustainable use of natural resources is problematic, and land is controlled by a small elite. The poorer cities in developing areas have the advantage of using resources far less wastefully than do First World city dwellers. As they develop and continue to grown, however, even they will demand substantial increases in nonrenewable resource use.
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  3. 3

    The urban crisis.


    The world's urban population, at 2048 million in 1985 is projected to increase by 56% to 3197 million by 2000, and another 72% to 5.493 million by 2025. This urbanization will grow by natural increase, rural-urban migration, and declining mortality. 28 mega-cities of >8 million are expected by 2000. In many Latin American countries cities will account for most of the population increase; in parts of Africa, Asia and China, spectacular increases in urban population is expected. In many of these areas the phenomenon called the "demographic trap" rather than a proper demographic transition seems to be occurring, that is stagnation in the phase of high fertility despite a decline in death rates. The patterns of urbanization peculiar to regions and continents are described, such as the "core regions" around Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Unlike the historical urbanization that accompanied the Western industrial revolution, current urbanization is not driven by economic opportunity but by rural poverty and ecological collapse, and aggravated by recession, external debt, natural disasters and welfare, among other factors. It is estimated that 50% of urban dwellers will subsist in extreme poverty, and they will account for 25% of the world's population by 2000. 30% of these households are headed by women, >50% in Latin America. Policies that governments have applied unsuccessfully to reverse urbanization include disincentives for rural urban migration, land reform, rural minimum wage, tax reform, agricultural subsidies, an urban decentralization settlement. More effective policies are integrated rural and urban development, coercive measures to prevent migration accompanied by economic incentives for rural areas, and resettlement schemes. Some positive cultural developments in urban slums are cited as stemming from the resourcefulness of the squatters, such as growing food.
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