Connecting with Canadians

Research Report:

Rethinking Social Policy for an Aging Workforce and Society: Insights from the Life Course Perspective

by Victor W. Marshall, Margaret M. Mueller

Researchers attempting to understand the population dynamics leading to the aging of societies, processes of individual aging, and the linkages between these phenomena have turned increasingly to the "life course perspective", which is a set of assumptions and principles for research.  Social policy should be re-thought in terms of the departures from this standardized life course.  The life course perspective focuses on processes rather than on states, and on the highly variable, yet patterned ways in which individual lives are shaped by social norms, institutional arrangements and laws and administrative regulations based on age of life stage.  The authors outline the premises, principles and concepts of the life course perspective and illustrate their policy application in five areas: education over the life course; family and work-family relationships; work-to-retirement transitions; income security in the later years; and intergenerational relations and social cohesion. 

Release Date: 17 May 2002
Number of pages: 56
Document number: 11849
Keywords: population characteristics, behaviour, work patterns, aging population, income security