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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

By 2030 about 70 million Americans – nearly 22 percent of the population – will be age 65 or older, an aging trend that presents new challenges for policymakers and society. Our work seeks to improve the knowledge base on many aspects of aging, from large-scale demographic shifts to the particular health and social needs of the elderly, in order to inform the development of effective policies and programs in health care, social services, and other areas.  See also:


Future Directions for the Demography of AgingProceedings of a Workshop  (CPOP)

Almost 25 years have passed since the Demography of Aging (1994) was published by the National Research Council. Future Directions for the Demography of Aging is, in many ways, the successor to that... Read more

Understanding Pathways to Successful Aging: Behavioral and Social Factors Related to Alzheimer's DiseaseProceedings of a Workshop–in Brief  (BBCSS)

A strong body of research demonstrates associations between the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and individuals’ personality characteristics, level of social engagement, and educational attainment.... Read more

The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National PrioritiesA Report for the National Science Foundation  

Nearly every major challenge the United States faces—from alleviating unemployment to protecting itself from terrorism—requires understanding the causes and consequences of people’s behavior. Even... Read more

Lessons Learned from Diverse Efforts to Change Social Norms and Opportunities and Strategies to Promote Behavior Change in Behavioral HealthProceedings of Two Workshops  (BBCSS)

In 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened two workshops with oversight from the Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms. The workshops... Read more

Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention by Communities to Promote Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health in ChildrenProceedings of a Workshop  (BOCYF)

Communities provide the context in which programs, principles, and policies are implemented. Their needs dictate the kinds of programs that community organizers and advocates, program developers and... Read more

Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention by Communities to Promote Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health in ChildrenProceedings of a Workshop–in Brief  (BOCYF)

Communities represent the front line in addressing many behavioral health conditions that children, adolescents, young adults, and their families have to face. These conditions are not rare: during... Read more

Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use DisordersThe Evidence for Stigma Change  (BBCSS)

Estimates indicate that as many as 1 in 4 Americans will experience a mental health problem or will misuse alcohol or drugs in their lifetimes. These disorders are among the most highly stigmatized... Read more

Measuring Specific Mental Illness Diagnoses with Functional ImpairmentWorkshop Summary  (CNSTAT,BBCSS,HSP)

The workshop summarized in this report was organized as part of a study sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary... Read more

Understanding Pathways to Successful AgingHow Social and Behavioral Factors Affect Health at Older Ages: Workshop in Brief  (BBCSS)

Research has identified many behavioral, social, and biological factors that are associated with healthy aging. Less well understood are possible causal relationships between such factors and positive... Read more

Strengthening the Scientific Foundation for Policymaking to Meet the Challenges of Aging in Latin America and the CaribbeanSummary of a Workshop  (CPOP)

Recent demographic trends in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region will shape the growth and age composition of its populations for decades to come. The rapid mortality decline that began... Read more

Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science  (BBCSS)

The past half-century has witnessed a dramatic increase in the scale and complexity of scientific research. The growing scale of science has been accompanied by a shift toward collaborative research,... Read more

Measuring Human CapabilitiesAn Agenda for Basic Research on the Assessment of Individual and Group Performance Potential for Military Accession  (BBCSS)

Every year, the U.S. Army must select from an applicant pool in the hundreds of thousands to meet annual enlistment targets, currently numbering in the tens of thousands of new soldiers. A critical... Read more

Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults  (BOCYF)

Young adulthood - ages approximately 18 to 26 - is a critical period of development with long-lasting implications for a person's economic security, health and well-being. Young adults are key... Read more

Medical Care Economic RiskMeasuring Financial Vulnerability from Spending on Medical Care  (CNSTAT,HCS)

The United States has seen major advances in medical care during the past decades, but access to care at an affordable cost is not universal. Many Americans lack health care insurance of any kind, and... Read more

Aging and the MacroeconomyLong-Term Implications of an Older Population  (BMSTA,BMSA,CPOP)

The United States is in the midst of a major demographic shift. In the coming decades, people aged 65 and over will make up an increasingly large percentage of the population: The ratio of people aged... Read more

Aging in AsiaFindings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives  (CPOP)

The population of Asia is growing both larger and older. Demographically the most important continent on the world, Asia's population, currently estimated to be 4.2 billion, is expected to increase to... Read more

Health Care Comes HomeThe Human Factors  (BOHSI)

In the United States, health care devices, technologies, and practices are rapidly moving into the home. The factors driving this migration include the costs of health care, the growing numbers of... Read more

Assessing the Impact of Severe Economic Recession on the ElderlySummary of a Workshop  (CPOP)

The economic crisis that began in 2008 has had a significant impact on the well-being of certain segments of the population and its disruptive effects can be expected to last well into the future. The... Read more

Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries  (CPOP)

During the last 25 years, life expectancy at age 50 in the United States has been rising, but at a slower pace than in many other high-income countries, such as Japan and Australia. This difference is... Read more

The Role of Human Factors in Home Health CareWorkshop Summary  (BOHSI)

The rapid growth of home health care has raised many unsolved issues and will have consequences that are far too broad for any one group to analyze in their entirety. Yet a major influence on the... Read more

When I'm 64  (BBCSS)

By 2030 there will be about 70 million people in the United States who are older than 64. Approximately 26 percent of these will be racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, the older population will be... Read more

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