Between senators, governors, and house representatives, elected officials hold a lot of power in the U.S. That’s why voting in local elections is so important. Some say age is just a number, but there’s a lot of talk about the age of politicians. Some young voters believe many elected officials don’t accurately represent their needs because of the generational gap. Others may prefer lifelong politicians with years of experience under their belts to serve in the highest positions in the land. For this study, the team at Coventry wanted to take a deep dive into learning about the average age among elected officials and their constituents.
States With the Biggest Age Gaps
New York has the second-youngest average age of elected officials in the country at 54 years old. The Empire State has elected some of the country’s youngest representatives across its 27 congressional districts on both sides of the political spectrum. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) was 30 when first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014, the youngest politician voted into Congress at the time. More recently, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was only 29 years old when she was elected to represent New York’s 14th congressional district.
Representatives in Idaho are roughly 33 years older than the average age of residents in the state. Brad Little, Idaho’s governor, is eight years older than the national average age of elected officials at 68. In the Gem State, voters ages 45 to 64 accounted for the most ballots cast in the previous election at 31.6% of the total vote. By comparison, only 21.2% of voters were between the ages of 18 and 29. Recently, teens in Idaho have created an initiative to help register eligible young voters.
Utah has the youngest population overall with an average resident age of 32, but they are only number 6 in age difference with a gap of nearly 27 years. Utah’s governor, Spencer Cox, is just three years shy of being the nation’s youngest governor. Although Utah has one of the country’s youngest populations, voter turnout remains relatively low among young voters in the Beehive state.
Mapping The Ages of Elected Officials and Their Residents
Two states with the most representatives that are closest in age to their constituents are Maine and Colorado. On average, Maine has the oldest population out of any other state in the U.S. with an average age of close to 45. Maine’s elected representatives were on 66 years old on average, giving the state a relatively low age gap between its elected officials and constituents. Colorado’s resident population and elected officials were on the younger side of that spectrum, with averages ages of 38 and 56, respectively.
Some say age is just a number, but when it comes to politics, that’s still up for debate. No matter where you stand on the experience versus youth argument, we can all agree that it’s important for everyone to get out and exercise their constitutional rights. Elected officials hold a lot of power in our country, so it’s important to go out and vote for who you think will represent your needs the best.
At Coventry, we know the magic number for many upcoming retirees is 66. If you’re voting yes to retirement in the near future and want to learn more about selling your eligible life insurance policy, the team at Coventry Direct is happy to help.
To determine the states with the largest age gaps between their elected officials and residents, we compiled a current list of Governors, Senators, and members of the House of Representatives and compared their average ages to that of their residents.
Elected official data was collected using data from FiscalNote, as well as NGA.gov, Senate.gov, and House.gov. Where not supplied from the above sources, birthdates for elected officials were pulled from public data sources like Wikipedia. Resident age data is from the U.S. Census.