This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"New" Oldest American is a Sociologist Born in Russia

There has been a bit of a shakeup this past week in the category of oldest living person. Last Friday we found out that the oldest person in the world had died at age 116 years, 311 days. She was Susannah Mushatt Jones, who lived in Brooklyn, so she was the oldest American, as well as the oldest in the world. The NY Daily News reported the story:
The supercentenarian died at 8:26 p.m. Thursday evening at her senior home in Brooklyn, the Gerontology Research Group’s [GRG] Robert Young told the Daily News. She was the last known American to have been born in the 1800s, and there is currently only one more person in the world verified as having taken breath in the 19th century. GRG, which works with the Guinness Book of World Records, said that the oldest person is now Emma Morano-Martinuzzi, an Italian born on Nov. 29, 1899.
Jones, known to loved ones as “Miss Susie,” told the Daily News last year that she credited her long life to getting sleep, not smoking and not drinking, though she admits that she loves and often eats bacon.
Jones's death elevated a 113-year-old Jewish woman named Goldie Michelson of Worcester, Massachusetts to the position of oldest American, although of course she is still three years younger than Emma Morano-Martinuzzi of Italy. Forward.com has the breaking news:
Michelson (neƩ Corash) was born in Russia in 1902 and emigrated with her family to Worcester at the age of 2. Her father, Max, was a medical student in Russia who opened up a dry goods store in the Water Street area of Worcester.
She attended the Women’s College of Brown University, which later became Pembroke University, and received a master’s degree in sociology from Clark University in Worcester. Her thesis at Clark was titled “A Citizenship Survey of Worcester Jewry” and examined why many of the city’s older Jewish-immigrant residents did not pursue American citizenship or learn English.
She told the Worcester Telegram in 2012 that her thesis was inspired by her time working with Jewish women’s organizations, like Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women. Michelson was also active in other community groups, including one that supported the founding of Brandeis University.
She attributes her long life to her habit of walking. Note that people always give themselves credit for their long lives, rather than offering the possibility of a good set of genes, or just plain luck. Of course, who am I to say otherwise?



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