Elzbieta GRZELAK-KOSTULSKA, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management, Department of Urban and Regional Development Studies, Poland
Jadwiga BIEGANSKA, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management, Department of Urban and Regional Development Studies, Poland
Stefania SRODA-MURAWSKA, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management, Department of Urban and Regional Development Studies, Poland
Pawel SMOLINSKI, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Doctoral School of Social Sciences, Poland
Leszek DABROWSKI, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Doctoral School of Social Sciences, Poland
Although the changes described in the theory of the second demographic transition manifested themselves earlier in the developed countries with high levels of welfare (in the Western Europe they started in early 1960s), they also spread to Central and Eastern Europe, albeit with some delay. In this case, their connection with the simultaneous transformation in the economic, social, and political spheres initiated in the 1990s means that they have had a slightly different course than in Western Europe. However, irrespective of the differences observed, the exploratory value in their interpretation should be attributed to the modernisation-related concept of the second demographic transition. This is because research on population change aims to find out the regularities inherent in it, expressed in certain trends; in this case, the assumed changes concern processes of a demographic nature limited to the elderly population.
The aim of the study is to scientifically analyse the observed changes in the population of Polish seniors that make up their demographic modernisation. The examination of a number of phenomena is to verify whether it is legitimate to associate the changes taking place in demographic and social spheres of life with the common context defined by the concept of modernisation, and to establish to what extent the results of research actually confirm their expected direction.
In order to achieve the objective thus set, subsequent tasks were planned to determine:
(1) how the household structure of senior citizens is changing,
(2) whether changes are taking place in the formation of relationships formed by older people, and (if so) in what direction,
(3) how mortality and morbidity changes,
(4) how the duration of life, including healthy life, is changing.
It has been proved that there are changes whose direction and nature correspond with the transformations characteristic for the second demographic transition and which contribute to modernization.
Keywords: modernization|seniors|demography|demographic transition|Poland