Vol. 18, No. 2, July 1980 - "Elderly in Pennsylvania"

(pp. 1 - 24)

George A. Schnell
State University of New York College at New Paltz

New Paltz, New York


It is noteworthy that Pennsylvania's aged population as a percentage of its total number of inhabitants was recorded in the 1950, 1960, and 1970 censuses as having exceeded the proportion of aged persons in the nation. Given the Commonwealth's demographic and industrial maturity, such comparisons are not surprising. Indeed, the steadily increasing relative importance of the elderly residents of Pennsylvania follows a period of age-selective out-migration from various state regions characterized by the outward flow of young adults. This mobility, combined with the diminishing fertility during the sixties, produced an increased, residual aged population. Within the state, however, the size and trends of the elderly population vary widely, and the examination of the spatial aspects of such change provides the focus of this paper.

(pp. 25 - 44)

William B. Kory
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Johnstown, Pennsylvania


According to the 1970 U.S. Census, the city of Pittsburgh has a population of 520,117. Of this total, 70,034 or 13.6% were people sixty-five years old or older. Among the twenty five most populous cities in the United States, Pittsburgh ranked second highest in the proportion of the elderly in its population. In fact, while Pittsburgh's population has declined in the past two decades, the elderly population increased in both numbers and percentage over the last three decades.

(pp. 45 - 58)

Stephen S. Birdsall
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Among many whose concern is with the elderly and with urban population change, it is part of the conventional wisdom that broad locational concentrations of older persons in urban areas are basically a result of the combined effects of two processes: the out-migration of younger individuals and cohort movement (or the aging-in-place) of those who remain behind. The well-documented tendency among Americans to migrate most actively during their 20's and 30's with a subsequent decline in migration propensity with advancing age is used as justification for that wisdom. Simply put, urban locational congregations of elderly Americans are not thought to come through an active process of concentration because it is believed that older people do not migrate within cities in significant numbers. Thus, the elderly are viewed as residual population within the urban landscape. The only exceptions are local clusters of residences specifically designed for the aged, such as retirement communities or long-term care facilities.

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