The Graying of America: Implications for Achievement Motivation Theory and Research

  • Martin L. Maehr
  • Douglas A. Kleiber


Anyone involved with education or other social services in the United States is unavoidably, and perhaps very personally, aware of shifting proportions of children, youth, adults and the aged in the general population. Abrupt changes in the size of the youth population are an interesting and unique feature of the social landscape of the U.S. in the twentieth century. The rapid rise in birth and fertility rates, referred to as the “baby boom,” produced an extremely rapid increase in the number of children and youth during the years 1956–1976. Just as surely, the recent and very rapid decline in birth and fertility rates will produce an equally steep decline in the relative size of the youth population in the period between 1976–1990 (cf., Figures 1 and 2). Complementary to this, the average life span has continued to increase, eventuating in what has sometimes been called the “Graying of America.”


Baby Boom Achievement Motivation Youth Population Demographic Shift Achievement Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin L. Maehr
    • 1
  • Douglas A. Kleiber
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of IllinoisUrbana-ChampaignUSA

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