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March 18, 1983

The Future of Family Medicine in Response to Demographic Changes and Increasing Specialization

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Family Practice, Franklin Square Hospital, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1983;249(11):1445-1447. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330350021019

IN 18 years, we will enter the next millenium. I want to refer to two major changes occurring that will deeply affect medical practice in the year 2000. First are the demographic changes taking place throughout the world with an increasingly elderly population; second is the increasing use of technology in medicine.

In the year 1900, 4% of the population in the United States were 65 years or older. At the present time, 11.3% are older than 65 years. Various projections exist for the year 2000. It is likely that 12.2% of the American population in the year 2000 will be older than 65 years. By the year 2020, those older than 65 years will constitute 15.6% of the population and, by the year 2035, 18.3%. An increasingly older population is being seen throughout the world, including in nations of Asia, South America, and Africa.

The other important phenomenon is