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Hagestad, Gunhild O. & Uhlenberg, Peter (2005). The Social Separation of Old and Young: A Root of Ageism. Journal of Social Issues, 61(2), 343-360.


Ageism has been the focus of numerous publications, while age segregation is a neglected topic. Ageism on a micro-individual level is linked to segregation on a macro level in a segregation-ageism cycle. Possible linking mechanisms, which might help break this cycle, can be found on a meso level of social networks—their structure and functions. Data from the United States and the Netherlands show that non-family networks are strongly age homogeneous. Based on earlier work by a range of scholars, we suggest that time, group identity, perspective-taking, and affective ties are factors that must be considered with regard to the functions of networks. Addressing meso level mechanisms poses challenges to social policy as well as research.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Social Issues


Hagestad, Gunhild O.
Uhlenberg, Peter