How old is old?

In the Middle East and Africa, 17% of people think being “old” starts at age 40. By contrast, only 1% of Latin Americans agree, and only 5% of North Americans agree.

On the other hand, 43% of North Americans think you can’t be classfied as “old” until you hit age 80! In Asia, only 7% of people share this view.

These are just a couple of the interesting findings in a new study published by Nielsen, “The Global Impact of an Aging World.” (You can get the full report here.)  Nielsen asked people in 53 countries at what age they would consider someone to be “old.”

Some highlights:

  • In the 14 oldest countries (median age 42), not surprisingly, “old” is older. 70% think “old” doesn’t kick in until age 70, and almost a third say you’re not “old” until you’re 80.
  • In the 14 youngest countries (median age 27) – equally unsurprisingly – “old” starts younger. 27% say you’re “old” once you hit 60, and about the same say “old” starts at 70. Less than 1% are willing to let you wait until age 80 before you’re labeled “old.”
  • The age of the respondent also matters. The older you are, logically, the older you think “old” is. Globally, about a half of those over 60 think “old” means 80. Talk about defining your way into youth! Those under 60 can’t agree, though – the votes for 60, 70 and 80 are all pretty even.

How old you do think “old” is? Take our my poll – I’ll be writing about this and posting results and comments not only here but on


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. Vice President, Zoomer Media Ltd. . Author of "The New Old" . 30 years experience in marketing communications, advertising, media . Speaker, writer, commentator on the revolution in aging and how to market to Boomers and seniors

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