What Age Is Considered Elderly Nowadays?

What age is considered elderly? Is it the forties, fifties, or sixties? Or is there even a certain age when one can comfortably refer to himself or herself as being elderly? Well, let’s find out.

aging man and woman

The young people, as well as the old ones, are all getting older. With each passing second, our biological clocks are ticking away but what age is considered elderly?

Over the years the society has been known to have defining standards for almost everything. But this time around the societal definition of an elderly person may actually be accurate or better put, acceptable. Aging is a natural life process that everyone will definitely go through. In some places, the process of aging is described as having started from birth. Although this definition is arguable there is a thread of truth in it.

From the moment you were born your body begins to go through a spiral of growth and developments. Picture a machine that works tirelessly round the clock, at the beginning its effectiveness is top-notch but with time it begins to slow down and one day will eventually break down. Your body functions in a similar manner too. At birth, through your adolescence and youthful years, it works tirelessly round the clock. And you advance in age it begins to slow down and one day when nature calls, it breaks down permanently.

What Age Is Considered Elderly

We have an interesting statistical perspective on working and living in today’s revolution. John Shoven, an economics professor suggests that the chances of a person dying within a year are less than or equal to one percent. Such a person is considered to be “middle-aged.” He used a chart that shows the transiting threshold age for men past their middle age to have increased from forty-four to sixty between 1920 and today.

Shoven suggests that a person with about two percent likelihood of dying in one year’s time should be considered as being “old.” This same chart showed that men’s threshold “old” age has risen from fifty-five to seventy since 1920.

Finally, a person with a four percent likelihood of dying within a year is considered “elderly” or “very old.” the chart illustrates an increased threshold age from sixty-five to seventy-six from the 1920s to date.

Going with these definitions, we can safely say that “old” which was seen as fifty-five years during the 1920s is today seen as “middle-aged” and “elderly’’ which was identified at age sixty-five is today taken as “old.”

Shoven implied that decreased mortality rate is roughly in line with the improved vitality and health of all age groups. And this can also be used to measure aging.

For Women

A chart was drawn for women and it showed that today’s women are considered middle age at age sixty-five. As of the 1920s, it was the late forties.

“Old” women today will be those around age seventy-three, a significant increase from age fifty in the 1920s. and “elderly” or “very old” women today are those at age eighty, it was formerly age sixty-seven. 

Are There Consequences?

This longevity revolution has some fortunate consequences which we have been observed for several past decades. It includes improved health care, sanitation, universally accessible clean water, electricity, waste removal, vaccinations, and refrigerators. Some demographers have predicted that there will continue to a lengthening of longevity in the coming years.

The above-cited statistics show a persuasive need for humans to keep on working in their older years. But society has set certain cultural expectations that define the right retirement ages in the past decades. This past retirement age restricts people above sixty years of age from working as they were considered elderly.

There is a need to rethink this expectation and make the necessary adjustments. Adding more years to our retirement age is too expensive and we cannot afford to do so. It would require more saving levels and this will strain the pension system and social security seriously.

Funding a thirty-year retirement program over a forty-year career is simply expensive. This points to the economic importance of people working beyond the age those in previous generations did. If you assess the situation you would also realize that it does not make sense for people to quit their work now in their 60s or 70s when these ages are no more considered old. Especially if these people are still capable, physically fit, and can contribute to society.

There are also health and social benefits to be gained when you work in your later years. Currently, the society is facing several significant challenges as they try to adjust to the growing number of the population?on living longer. But it is better that we deal with these challenges rather than return to the previous age bracket when those called old are seen to be younger today. Or which do you prefer?


We have seen from a statistical point of view that there is no eternally fixed bracket for old age. Since the 1920s there has been a remarkable increase in the longevity of people and we have been told to expect more of this in the coming years. 

The question we are asking is how the society can maximize its aging population such that these groups of people are not a liability to it. Research has discovered that countries, especially America, benefit largely from its “senior.” The revenue generated by seniors in the New York state, for example, is such a large percentage that there is currently an office of aging which aims at maximizing its aging population. 

Hopefully you have gotten the answer of what age is considered elderly and beyond that, you understand the statistical point of view of this longevity evolution the world is experiencing.

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