This Is the Most Ageist State in America

A new study ranks each state by its propensity for ageism. Here's the worst one.

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The way a society treats its elders is telling of its character, and some states in the U.S. are getting a failing report card for their tendency toward ageism. A new study from researchers at Stanford University and Michigan State has found that some places are better than others to grow old in—and you may want to plan your retirement accordingly. Read on to find out the most ageist state, according to their research, and for another state ranking, find out The Most Promiscuous State in America.

While people everywhere across the U.S. demonstrate some level of implicit age-based bias, certain states stood out for their negative associations with advanced age. "Early in life, we are exposed to an array of messages about what it means to be 'old,'" the study explains. "Representations in media, advertising, entertainment, and art reflect and reinforce cultural notions about the value of maintaining a youthful appearance, with the implication that old age is something we should try to avoid or conceal," the authors wrote.

So what exactly are those cultural notions? Co-authors of the study Hannah Giasson and William Chopik point out that older adults tend to be thought of as "warm" but also "incompetent." This combination of traits translates into a lower social status, brought down by feelings of pity. Unfortunately, the authors note, these negative stereotypes are deeply ingrained and "particularly resistant to change, even in the face of stereotype-inconsistent behavior."

Of course, all of us who live long enough will someday find ourselves in this marginalized demographic, and may be on the receiving end of ageism. "Older adults are one of the only stigmatized groups that we all become part of some day," Chopnik told Fast Company. "And that's always struck me as interesting—that we would treat so poorly a group of people that we're destined to become."

The authors add that this negative perception can also have real life implications on the physical and mental health of the advanced-age population. "As we encounter social cues and milestones that make age salient (e.g., birthdays, retirement, being called "senior"), negative attitudes and stereotypes about old age we have accumulated throughout our lives gain self-relevance, become integrated into our self-concepts, and can take a toll on health and well-being," the study explains.

The researchers reviewed data pertaining to 803,009 individuals from 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, including the results of surveys that measured implicit and explicit age bias. Ultimately, this revealed which states were the worst offenders when it came to ageism—and the results may surprise you. Without further ado, read on for a the countdown of the 20 most ageist states in the U.S., and for more on aging, check out these 40 Words That Will Instantly Reveal Your True Age.

Read the original article on Best Life.

20
Ohio

city skyline of Cincinnati, Ohio at dusk
iStock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.451

19
Illinois

 

the downtown area and bean in Chicago, Illinois
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.451

18
Arizona

landscape photo of Phoenix, Arizona at sunset
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.455

17
Pennsylvania

city skyline and the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.455

16
Indiana

cityscape photo of Indianapolis, Indiana at night
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.455

15
Hawaii

An aerial photo of Waikiki Beach and downtown Honolulu, Hawaii with Diamond Head in the background
iStock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.455

14
Delaware

Autumn Morning View of the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge Spanning the Delaware River , New Hope, Pennsylvania
George Oze / Alamy

Mean implicit age bias: 0.456

13
Tennessee

cityscape photo of Memphis, Tennessee in the afternoon
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.456

12
Virginia

 

landscape photo of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia at sunset
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.457

11
Alabama

cityscape photo of Birmingham, Alabama at dusk
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.458

10
Maryland

the Baltimore skyline and Inner Harbor Promenade in Baltimore, Maryland
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.460

9
Louisiana

cityscape photos of bars and restaurants on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana at twilight
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.462

8
Georgia

Georgia
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.463

7
North Carolina

cityscape photo of downtown Winston-Salem, North Caroline at night
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.469

6
Florida

empty street, palm trees, and white buildings in Palm Beach, Florida at night
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.470

5
New York

people crossing the street in New York City
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.471

4
South Carolina

downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina in the afternoon
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.472

3
Mississippi

 

city skyline and Mississippi Stat Capitol Building in Jackson, Mississippi
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.473

2
Connecticut

Connecticut
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.478

1
New Jersey

buildings next to the Hudson River and in the Waterfront Walkway in Jersey City, New Jersey
Shutterstock

Mean implicit age bias: 0.479

And for more state rankings that might pique your interest, check out The Most Hated State in America.

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