Ageism Poll Analysis

Incidence of experiencing ageism is very common among seniors in Canada, and is concentrated among females and, oddly, those younger than 65. While close to two thirds are targeted by it, few wish to act aggressively against age-based discrimination.

Almost two thirds of respondents claimed to have experienced ageism overall (62%), most commonly by being addressed in a demeaning fashion (35%), experiencing poor service in a store or restaurant (32%), or being made the butt of a joke (29%). Fewer cited losing a job or a promotion (18%) being discouraged from seeking medical treatment (16%) or being rejected as a patient by a family doctor (9%).

Incidence of being subject to ageism is higher for females than for males (70% to 56%). Those under 65, paradoxically, are slightly more likely to report being the targets of ageism (65%) than those 65 and older (60%)

Despite such high incidence of reported ageism against themselves, fewer than half of respondents say they know someone who has experienced ageism (44%), indicating that seniors maybe better at discerning ageism directed at themselves than at others. Once again, those under 65 are more likely to say they know someone who has been subject to age-based discrimination (54%) than are those 65 and older (39%). Females (54%) are more likely than males (37%) to say they know someone who has been the victim of ageism.

More than half claim to have been exposed to ageist stereotyping in the media (57%), and this form of “soft” ageism is especially common among females (69%).

The vast majority of respondents says the best way to deal with ageism is public awareness (81%), followed by far fewer who call for public boycotts (9%), stricter laws (8%) or, especially, ridicule (2%). Thus, it may be that seniors, while recognizing they are targets of age-based discrimination, are reluctant to pursue aggressive means to end it.

Two thirds of the sample of respondents are seniors (65 or older – 65%). The average age of respondents is 68 years.

Survey results are based on a self-selected sample of more than 4000 members of CARP who received the organization’s online newsletter. Results can be said to be accurate within 1.5%, either up or down, at the 95% confidence level. That is, if all recipients of CARP Action Online who responded to surveys were asked these questions, their answers would be within 2% of those shown here, 19 out of 20 times asking the identical question.