Sociology of Death and Dying

Topics: United States, Death, Old age Pages: 4 (1381 words) Published: July 30, 2010
Death: Life’s Contract
Every person born into the world is automatically signed to life’s contract. No contract is the same, but they all eventually come to an end with death. In the 1900’s life’s contracts were much different. They were shorter and had different conducts. However, times have changed with people living longer and death being looked at in a completely different light. Death hasn’t left life’s contract, but it’s made some major changes.

At the beginning of the 20th century, for every 1000 live births, six to nine women in the United States died of pregnancy-related complications, and approximately 100 infants died before the age of 1. The life expectancy was 47 years of age. Only one person in 25 had then survived to age 60. If this longevity had remained the same to our present day, only half of those born in 2000 would be alive today.

Today, life expectancy has changed dramatically, as the average person in the United States is expected to live to be about 77 years old. Increases in life expectancy in the 20th century are often attributed to a combination of nutrition, changes in overall public health, and advances in medicine. Women used to have shorter lives due to childbirth. Now females have a longer life expectancy than males. Women are expected to live to be about 79.4 years old while men are only expected to live for about 73.6 years.

These added years to our lives have completely altered the American family. The average number of people in a household in the 1900s was seven or more. The common average now is less than three. Couples are waiting longer periods to get married and start families. With infant mortality rates at an all time low, an abundant amount of children is no longer needed for survival. Instead of having 4 to 5 children, most couples stop conceiving after 1 or 2. With a major increase in women joining the workforce, two incomes is now enough to support a family. Children also are able to have relationships with...

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• Smale, David A.(1993). Davies ' Law of Burial, Cremation and Exhumation. Sixth Edition. Crayford: Shaw and Sons.
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