“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…” doesn’t give many Americans, contrary to the popular Beatles song, the image of someone age 64. In fact, only 32% of Americans believe that turning age 65 (the actual age in the survey question) is a marker of being old. Only retiring from work, grandchildren and gray hair were given less weight as measures of old age on a list of 13 possible markers. So when is someone old? The average answer is 68, but that answer is relative to how old you are. While those under age 30 say the average person becomes old at 60, just 6% of adults 65 or older agree. Respondents older than age 30 lean more toward the age of 70 and above as when someone becomes old. Moreover, the older Americans get, the younger they feel. Americans under 30 say they feel their age, but nearly half of all respondents ages 50 and older say they feel at least 10 years younger than their chronological age. So as the first wave of baby-boomer Beatles fans actually reach 64, few are worrying: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.