Old Age Begins at 68… Unless You’re There Already: Poll

WASHINGTON ~ Americans think old age begins at 68, unless they have already reached that landmark, a poll showed this week.

Sixty-eight was the average age given by 2,969 US adults aged 18 and older who were asked by researchers when they thought old age begins.

But people 65 and older said old age starts six years later – at 74 – while those aged 30-64 say it begins at around 70.

Meanwhile, people younger than 30 brought the average down to 68 by saying old age begins before 60.

The poll, by the Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends, showed that older survey respondents were united on one issue: they personally do not feel that they have hit old age.

When asked whether they feel old, nearly seven in 10 adults aged 65 and older said no, they do not, a 152-page report of the results said.

Even among the over-75s, a solid majority – 61 percent – said they don’t feel old.

Asked whether they feel older or younger than their age, half of American adults said younger.

Young adults – those aged 18-30 – were the least likely to say that they felt younger than they really are. Just 23 percent feel that way, while those aged 50 to 74 were the most likely (61 percent) to say they felt more youthful than their numerical age.

Indeed, nearly half of respondents aged 50 and older said they feel at least a decade younger than they are.

The poll was conducted by mobile and landline telephone over a four-week period between February and March this year.

Forty-four percent of the respondents, or 1,332, were 65 or older.

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