Qs and As about the future of the three Rs: a demographer's perspective

by Kevin F. McCarthy


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The 1980s are certain to confront the nation's educational systems with great challenges but equally great opportunities. The U.S. population has been undergoing a virtual demographic revolution during the last decade that will heavily affect both the schools and any reforms that are attempted. This paper deals with six major trends in that revolution--what has already happened and what we can expect in the future--and examines some of the questions they will pose for the educational system. The six trends are: (1) The transition toward zero population growth; (2) the population's changing age structure; (3) the changing makeup of families and households; (4) the revolution in women's work force participation; (5) the new immigration; and (6) the new settlement patterns.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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