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Sociology 227, Spring 2016

Final Exercise
Please reflect on what you have learned in this class this semester, and then answer the
following questions as completely as possible.
1. What do you think are the three most important demographic issues facing contemporary
society today?
The study of demographics has indicated that as time moves on the principles of
demography change. In terms of current day society, three major factors have a large
influence on demography are international migration, family dynamics, and morbidity.
International migration has always defined the society in America with its vast cultures
and ethnicities. Data shows that within the time frame of 1965 to 2010 there has been an
increase of 8.5% in North America for foreign-born populations and with time such numbers
will simply increase. International migrations plays such a big factor in demography because,
as discussed in class, other demographic issues differ in foreign places, so with migration
into American societies brings change to its demography. For example, family dynamics and
gender roles are quite different in India, where premarital relationships are still considered a
taboo and with large number of Indian immigrants to North America, the statistics for
children born before marriage or partners living together without being legally married
decreases. Another reason that international migration is seemingly becoming a factor for
demography is the current issue with the refugees.
Another faucet that appears to be prevalent in todays day and age is family dynamics,
which has greatly changed over the years due to cultural change. Within recent decades
family structures have faced a multitude of changes in terms of non-marital childbearing and
pre-marital relationships. This has become more relevant in recent years rather than the past
because current attitudes to pre-marital relationships has opened up and is no longer
considered a taboo. Besides the acceptance of such relationships, the decrease of gender roles
has allowed the number of working women to become independent and have children before
marriage or pursue open relationships, which not only changes the structure of the previously
accepted norm of a 4 member family and a white picket fence ideology but changes the
statistics around non-marital childbearing.
Lastly, morbidity and in relation mortality was and still is demographic issue that
societies today face. As science is still advancing certain diseases and illnesses have yet to

cured. Another reason morbidity is such a big deal within current years could be due the
increasing number international migrations, which have the ability to be host for exotic
strains of viruses causing epidemics within American society. Additionally, certain illnesses
have become more prevalent, such as cardiac problems and diabetic issues. These seem to be
a stem of the lifestyles American societies have begun to follow; a one defined by fast-food
fueled diets.

2. What do you expect to be the most important demographic issues and trends in the
coming decades? Are they the same as your answer for question 1? Why or why not?
In coming decades I still believe that family dynamics and international migration will be
leading demographic issues that will continue to define future societies. Firstly, family
dynamics have undergone drastic changes over time due to the change in societal norms of
gender roles. Even though there have been a lot of hurdles passed in terms of such gender
roles and taboos, there is still progress to be made. In other parts of the worlds and even some
parts in the states, premarital childbearing and relationships are still forbidden by the societal
norms construed there. In the case of international migration, I think for American societies it
will continue to increase as it has in past decades. For one, international migration for
America is often a consequence of individuals trying to pursue the American Dream and
escape the harsh realities of their current residence.
I do not think that morbidity and mortality will be as important of a demographic issue as
it seen in todays day and age. That is not to say that morbidity, as in the disease within a
population, will essentially decrease but that better suited interventions will increase. As
science makes advances in the field of medicine, there will better outcomes for those affected
and better prevention as well.

3. In our last lecture, we talked about income inequality, both worldwide and within the
United States. What do you think are the most important challenges faced by low-income,
working Americans today? Do you think these challenges could be affected by policy
interventions? If so, what types of policies would you recommend?
As a college student, I feel that one of the most important challenges facing low-income
working American today seems to be the infamous college debt. Essentially the only way to
be placed above the poverty lines seems to be to get an education, a degree, and a career that
puts an individual above the line. However the issue with that seems to lie with the solution
itself. How can low-income families afford tuition for university when tuitions seems to rise
every years while minimum wage barely does. In recent news Chris Christie proposed
educational cuts of 2.5 million from programs such as EOF, which are state established

measure to provide assistance to those who are under financial distress. I recommend that
such proposal not be put into action, programs as such are essentially what help put a lot
economically disadvantaged kids get through school and earn a better living in the future.