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  The process of growth, adulthood and old age which human beings experience, each stage being associated with various forms of social, economic and political behaviour. The idea of stage in the life-cycle has been much used in factorial ecologies of urban areas. Crucial stages in the life-cycle for many people following childhood include: marriage, a pre-child stage, birth and rearing of children, a post-child stage, and finally family dissolution with the death of one spouse. These stages may affect mobility, income, demand for housing and recreational activities, among other things (see housing studies; leisure, geography of; recreation). The life-cycle is reflected in the age and sex structure of an area\'s population.

More recently, the term life course has been increasingly preferred (Warnes, 1992) in order to recognize the complexity of experiences which may mark an individual\'s passage from birth to death including, for example, non-heterosexual lifestyles and diverse living arrangements which follow divorce and remarriage. (PEO)

Reference Warnes, T. 1992: Migration and the life course. In T. Champion and T. Fielding, eds, Migration patterns and processes. Volume 1: Research Progress and Prospects. London and New York: Belhaven, 175-87.

Suggested Reading Bongaarts, J., Burch, T.K. and Wachter, K.W. 1987: Family demography. Methods and their application. Oxford: Clarendon Press.



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