Picking a Retirement Community Based on Political Views

Americans exposed to a range of political views are less likely to participate in politics.

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Choosing neighbors you can get along with is important at any stage of life, but especially in retirement. While researching an article about places to retire that might appeal to Democrats and Republicans, I had an interesting conversation with Diana Mutz, a political science and communication professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative Versus Participatory Democracy.

Her research indicates that people who live in diverse communities have more political tolerance because they are exposed to multiple perspectives on issues. But being exposed to a range of political views actually decreases political participation, in part because publicly taking a stand that associates may oppose can be socially awkward. Political activism, on the other hand, often appears in social environments where like-minded people spur one another to action with their collective energy and enthusiasm but can also lead to extreme thinking. "People talking to no one but other like-minded people have no one questioning their views, so they become more and more extreme," says Mutz.

Tell us, would you prefer to retire in a community of people who share your political views or be exposed to a range of viewpoints?