Chicago, IL, May 23, 2019 — Fifty-eight percent of Americans age 50 and older say older workers face discrimination in the workplace, and 75 percent consider their own age to be a detriment when looking for a job, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

In addition, among workers age 50 and older, about a fifth feel they have been passed over for promotion or raises due to their age. Only 6 percent of older adults say their age is an advantage.

The findings of the 2019 Working Longer Survey reflect the effects of a growing trend, which started in the 1990s, of U.S. workers who are delaying retirement. Since 2005, older workers—defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as 55 years and older—have made up a larger share of the labor force than those age 16 to 24.

“As more and more workers in the United States continue to put off retiring past the traditional age of 65, they report feeling the consequences of age bias in both their current positions and as they look for jobs,” said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. “What’s interesting is at the same time, 45 percent of Americans say the trend of working longer is beneficial to the national economy, and 39 percent say it’s good for workers in general.”

Other key findings:

  • Women age 50 and older are especially inclined to regard their age as a hindrance when job seeking. Seventy-nine percent of women and 70 percent of men age 50 and older say their age hampers their job search.
  • While about half of all adults say older workers frequently face age discrimination at work, only about a fifth say younger workers experience age discrimination.
  • Younger workers are more likely to request accommodations like flextime or working remotely than are older workers. Forty-four percent of workers under age 50 have requested flexible hours. Working women age 18 to 29 are most likely to ask for flextime.
  • Thirty-three percent of all workers say the working longer trend is good for their career, and 46 percent regard it as a positive for their workplace culture.
  • Fifty-three percent of Americans age 50 and older say that people staying in the workforce past 65 is a plus for the national economy, and 50 percent say it is good for American workers in general. Younger Americans are less positive about this trend: 38 percent consider it good for the economy, and 30 percent say it is good for American workers.  

About the Study
This survey, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Staff from NORC at the University of Chicago, The Associated Press, and the Sloan Foundation collaborated on all aspects of the study. This work is part of The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Journalism Fellowship on the Economics of Aging and Work. The current fellow is journalist Andrew Soergel.

Survey Methodology
The nationwide poll was conducted February 14-18, 2019, by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, using the AmeriSpeak Panel®, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,423 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.7 percentage points.

Adults age 50 and older were sampled at a higher rate than their proportion of the population for reasons of analysis. The overall margin of sampling error for the 927 completed interviews with adults age 50 and older is +/- 4.1 percentage points.

About The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest-quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the world.

The Associated Press (AP) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP. See

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge. See

The two organizations have established The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals.


For more information, contact Eric Young for NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).