The survey was conducted in the UK, where 1,000 adults, who were aged over 50 years, were polled by an online learning website called Love to Learn
. The outcome, the Daily Express
notes, was that average perception of middle age was 54 years and 347 days old.
Although the survey probably does not meet the rigors of a statistically balanced poll, the findings, which reveal how people’s perceptions of age change over time, are interesting nevertheless.
In relation to ‘middle age’, the BBC
reports that it the past people regarded themselves as middle aged at the comparatively young age of 36 years. With the new survey a sizeable number (around 20%) considered that middle age did not begin until someone had reached sixty years old.
The survey also indicates that the age that people first regard themselves as ‘elderly’ has hit close to 70 years old (the average was 69 years and 277 days old). This also suggests that ‘middle age’ spans a 15 years period (from 55 to 70 years).
In another recent survey
, the charity Age Concern
looked at people’s definitions of when youth ends and this produced a surprisingly wide range of answers between different countries. The answers ranged from 34 in Sweden to 52 in Greece, with the average being 40 years old.
It would appear that as the population, in certain countries at least, ages, then the ages at which people define themselves as ‘old’, alters with new cut-off points set in the collective psyche.
Maybe there is something in the old adage that ‘age is a state of mind’.