Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology and Rural Studies


A recent development in the social and economic history of the United States is the evolvement of an institutionalized stage of retirement in the life cycle of the average worker. In the early part of the twentieth century, retirement was not considered a major problem in our society. However, the number and proportion of people surviving to “post-retirement” age has been increasing steadily in both the rural and urban population. This is due, primarily, to declining mortality. Declining fertility, prior to World War II, has also had some effect on the increase in the proportion of people over 65 years of age. The expectation of life at birth in the United States has increased from 48.2 years in 1900 to 67.2 years in 1958 which indicates that more people are living to an older age. Therefore, a larger number and proportion of our population may be considered as potential “retirees”. Before the advent of the social Security Act and other retirement programs, workers left the work role, either gradually or completely, at a time which they considered most opportune. They retired because they had accumulated enough financial reserve to insure fulfillment of their economic needs in the retirement years, or for reasons of failing health. Retirement as a basic problem for the farmer is essentially the same as it is for individuals in other occupations. But there are a few conditions which make adjustment in retirement difficult for the farmer. First, he does not have organized agencies attempting to prepare him for retirement. Drake found that most studies on adjustment in retirement point out that those who have been prepared for retirement were the happiest in retirement. A second reason is the lack of private positions to supplement social security benefits for financing retirement. This study will focus on main two objectives: (1) To find the relationships between selected variables and attitude toward retirement. (2) To find which of these relationships remain significant when the effect of other related variables is controlled one at a time and then simultaneously. This study is part of a more inclusive investigation of the problems of older people and retirement being carried out by the Department of Rural Sociology at South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Old age


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages