Aging across the World
The world population is aging at an unprecedented rate. Although population aging is a global phenomenon, its manifestations vary across different countries and there is an increasing need for cross-national and cross-cultural comparisons in aging research. Building on past literature, we differentiate aspects of aging that are universal from experience- or culturally-dependent aspects and discuss the contributing role of demographic dynamics, economic resources, geographical mobility, historical context, contemporary policies, and cultural values. We then summarize previous research illustrating the interplay of these factors in shaping the course and experience of aging with specific emphasis on perceptions and attitudes toward aging and older adults, age-related shifts in socioemotional functioning, and patterns of cognitive aging. Lastly, drawing on developmental and cultural findings from non-consumer contexts, we explore the implications of cross-cultural variations in aging in the consumer context, identify limitations of existing literature, and consider avenues for future research.