American Gerontocracy: Which States Have the Oldest Elected Officials?

American politicians are far older, on average, than the voters they represent. As Americans prepare to elect either Joe Biden (80 years old) or Donald Trump (77) to the white house next year, the age gap has never been more stark. How old are your state's elected officials?

American Gerontocracy?

American elected officials are, on average, far older than the populations they represent. The Cultural Currents Institute, a leading political consulting and digital marketing agency based in Austin, Texas, reviewed the numbers to determine which states had the greatest age gap with their elected officials. To do this, CCI compared the average age of each state's senators, congressmen, and governor with the median age of their population.

Idaho led the nation with a stunning 33 year gap — their politicians averaged over 70 years old, while the median Idahoan is just 37.2. Maryland, Wyoming, Utah, and Vermont were next on the list. Washington D.C. was also worth of an honorable mention. Although the district has no governor or senators, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (85 years old) is a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. She is a whopping 50.6 years older than the median Washingtonian.

Florida, the state with the fifth oldest median age, had the smallest age gap — a mere 11.5 years. The Sunshine State was followed by New York, New Mexico, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

Over the Hill

Currently, the average retirement age in the United States is 61 years old. Meanwhile:

  • The average Senator is 63.5 years old
  • The average Congressman is 57 years old
  • The average Governor is 60.5 years old
  • Democratic politicians are slightly older than Republicans (59 vs. 57.5)
  • The average American is 38.9 years old

The Oldest Presidential Race in History

It appears that American voters will be asked to choose between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election. When each man was first elected to office, they set a record for the oldest person ever sworn in as president. These politicians come from a time that would be largely unrecognizable to the average American today. To give a sense of just how different the world was when they were born, consider the following...

How Old is Joe Biden?

The sitting president is 80 years old. He was born in 1942, at the height of World War II. The song White Christmas was released as part of the soundtrack for the musical film Holiday Inn. A Coke cost five cents.

How Old is Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is 77 years old. He was born in 1946, the year after World War II ended. The film "It's a Wonderful Life" was released. The average home cost $5,150.

How Old is Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi is 83 years old. She was born in 1940, a year before the United States entered World War II. This is the year that FDR became America's first three-term president. "When You Wish Upon a Star" was released. Gasoline cost eleven cents per gallon.

How Old is Mitch McConnell?

Mitch McConnell is 81 years old. He was born in 1942, the year U.S. automakers switched from making cars to war materials. The Kay Kyser song "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" was released, and would eventually find fame with later generations as part of the soundtrack of the video game Fallout: New Vegas. A cup of coffee cost nineteen cents.

How Old is Dianne Feinstein?

Dianne Feinstein is 90 years old. She was born in 1933, during one of the worst years of the Great Depression. Federal aid was released to drought-affected states to curb the worst of the effects of what would come to be called the Dust Bowl. Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany. The song "Lazy Bones" by Ted Lewis was released. The average American net income was $2,956.48.

How Old is Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney is 76 years old. He was born in 1947, the year the United Nations voted to create an Independent Jewish State of Israel. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" was first released by the Blue Grass Boys. A 14 ounce bottle of Heinz Ketchup cost fourteen cents.

Notably, Mitt Romney announced that he will not seek reelection in 2024, saying that it is time for a new generation to “step up” and “shape the world they’re going to live in.” Perhaps it is time for other American politicians to do the same.

About CCI

The Cultural Currents Institute is a full-service marketing and communications agency that strives to understand audiences in order to affect meaningful change. We do powerful work across a range of industries - from government and education, to CPG marketing and fintech. Our services include everything from public relations, to branding, to UX Strategy. Clients range from pre-seed startups to Fortune 500 enterprises.