Rodríguez, Vicente (1); Fernández-Mayoralas, Gloria (1); Rojo-Perez, Fermina (1); Prieto-Flores, María Eugenia (2); Forjaz, Joao (3)
1: Spanish National Research Council, Spain; 2: National University of Distance Education; 3: Carlos III Institute of Health
Background. Socio-demographic characteristics of the older Spanish population, usually studied through cross-sectional data, need a longitudinal approach to better understand the changes that occur as they age. The aim of this paper is to examine their socio-demographic features that may help to foresee future trends and to assess the role of a future longitudinal study. Methods. Data comes from the Ageing in Spain Longitudinal Study, Pilot Survey (ELES-PS), as a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized population aged 50 and older. It was conducted in 2011 to 1,357 weighted cases, randomly drawn by sex and age and stratified by habitat, census tracts and households. An exploratory analysis was applied using health, socioeconomic and demographic variables. Results. Future older adults in Spain might be in a better shape to face an ageing process more 'comfortable' than previous generations, as the analysis suggested (higher education level and income, better health and functional capacity), although social and economic conditions could influence. Changes in family and households structures will compound generations of older Spaniards different from the current ones (old people living alone, multiple households, less children and grandchildren), being age and sex key factors. Conclusions. Developing a longitudinal study is an unavoidable challenge to identify important components of the social ground of the future older Spaniards. Special attention will deserve the structure of family and social networks, the basics of the intergenerational transfer systems or the adjustment of the residential environment as a vital geographical dimension in quality of later life.