Truly Shocking Ageism Statistics

Ageism is endemic throughout American society. Through this article, we present a comprehensive examination of the United States. Specifically, we discuss these topics:

  • Ageism in the workplace
  • Ageism is a global problem
  • Ageism can be found on social media platforms
  • Death by ageism
  • Why it is important to stop ageism

Ageism in the Workplace

An ever-increasing number of men and women are working past what historically has been a retirement age of about 65. If you are a person in that position or intend to work beyond what many consider a more traditional age to retire, you are wise to be aware of some statistics associated with ageism in the workplace.

  • The number of age discrimination claims recorded by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC annually is over 21,000.
  • 58 percent of workers today believe that ageism begins when workers reach the age of 50. That is in advance of what traditionally is thought of as a retirement age of around 65.
  • 92 percent of workers who have seen age discrimination happen in the workplace or experienced it first-hand say it is very or somewhat commonplace.
  • Age has negatively affected advancement, selection, evaluations, and ratings of interpersonal skills for workers in studies dating back to the 1970s.
  • 15 percent of workers in a recent survey said it would be unacceptable to have a boss who was 70 years old. That’s three times greater than those who would find it unacceptable to have a 30-year-old boss.
  • 48 percent of accountants surveyed believe that it’s more difficult to get a job in their field after the age of 40.
  • Cisco said it would be hiring 2,000 Millennials while at the same time laying off 12,000 other, presumably older, mid-tier workers.
  • 64 percent of older adults say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

Ageism Is a Global Problem

In many ways, ageism is peculiarly attached to life in the United States. The fact is that ageism is a global problem at this juncture. Various statistics support this sad conclusion:

  • Ageism is now ranked as the most widely experienced type of discrimination across Europe.
  • 35 percent of Europeans say that they have experienced unfair treatment directed towards them solely because of their age. This is higher than gender, which is at 25 percent. It is also higher than discrimination based on ethnicity, at 17 percent.
  • While the number of unemployed people aged 16 to 49 has fallen almost 19 percent in the United Kingdom since May 2010, unemployment fell only 5 percent for people aged 50 to 64.
  • 44 percent of Europeans see ageism as a serious problem. The country most concerned about ageism is France. 68 percent of the population of France sees ageism as a major issue.
  • 39 percent of people who have experienced ageism in Europe say it occurred largely through a lack of respect. This lack of respect was defined as being patronized or ignored.
  • The percentage of Europeans insulted, abused, or even denied services because of their age ranked at 29 percent.
  • Fewer than 1 in 2 people in the 55 to 64 age demographics are employed. Only 1 in 10 people in the 65 to 69 age demographics are gainfully employed.
  • 57 percent of Europeans believe that older people contribute little to the economy.
  • People aged over 70 have the lowest perceived status in European society. This low perception exists even among people over the age of 70 themselves.
  • 53 percent of Europeans say they have no friends over the age of 70. In the 15 to 24 age demographics, that percentage reaches 80 percent.

Ageism Can Be Found on Social Media Platforms

Social media remains a major communication and socialization force in the United States and around the globe. Ageism is an issue in the proverbial real world and on social media platforms.

  • In a survey of Facebook pages focusing on the Baby Boomer demographics, 3 out of every 4 heavily criticized that population of aging Americans.
  • 27 percent of Facebook groups compare the older generations to infants.
  • 37 percent of Facebook groups that focus on seniors actively advocate banning seniors from basic public activities, such as shopping for groceries.
  • The median ages of employees at Apple, Google, and Facebook are 33, 31, and 26, respectively.
  • 58 percent of individuals in the older generations say that they routinely see jokes that poke fun at their demographic or make light of the common stereotypes that often are associated with seniors.

Death by Ageism

Ageism is also now believed to negatively impact the health of individuals who harbor ageist beliefs and are the targets of those unfair misconceptions.

  • With the exception of African-Americans, every ethnic and racial demographic in the United States scores highly with supporting senior stereotypes.
  • 25 percent of individuals who held negative stereotypes of seniors had a heart attack 30 years later. People who do not hold ageist beliefs had a heart attack rate at this milestone of 13 percent. The difference between the two cohorts is stark.
  • People with positive attitudes regarding seniors are 44 percent more likely to fully recover from a severe disability when compared to those with negative attitudes.
  • Those heavily critical of seniors in a negative way have shown a 30 percent greater decline over 40 years.
  • Those individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer than those with negative self-perceptions about growing old.

Why It Is Important to Stop Ageism

Finally, there are some key practical reasons why ageism must be brought to an end. These include, but are not limited to:

  • At present, twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as those under 25.
  • The average age of a successful entrepreneur in high-growth industries such as computers, health care, and aerospace is 40.
  • Three out of every four older workers have more than six years of industry experience when they create a new small business.
  • 50 percent of successful entrepreneurs over the age of 50 have more than 10 years of industry experience when they launch a startup.
  • The 20 to 34 age demographic has the lowest rate of entrepreneurial activity than any other age demographic.
  • Americans over 50 age demographic account for nearly half of all consumer spending. With that said, network television focuses programming on the 18 to 34 demographics because they are seen as having more disposable income.