British people think ideal age is 36, survey finds

The average ideal age for wisdom is 51

Click to follow
The Independent Online

People in Britain think the ideal age is 36, new research has revealed.

But half of the 1,700 people who took part in the survey admitted they were nostalgic for their younger years, with 49 per cent saying they would like to go back to being a child for a week if they could.

The results come after YouGov asked adults in the UK about what they thought was the ideal age for a person.

People aged between 18 and 24 said it was 27. It was 34 for the 25-49 bracket, 40 for those aged between 50 and 64 and 42 for the over 65s.

Will Dahlgreen from YouGov said: “While the youngest generation tend to see their best years as (slightly) ahead of them, possibly owing to not yet having reached full economic freedom or career fulfillment, and the oldest generations see their best years as behind them, the range between them isn’t large.”

He added: “And the 25-49 age group in which the average ideal age lies also confirms your mid-thirties are the best years.”

The survey also shows that 29 is the average ideal age for physical health. For wisdom, it is 51.

Professor Dominic Abrams and research fellow Hannah Swift, both from the University of Kent's School of Psychology, told The Independent that the YouGov survey confirmed their own research.

"What seems to be happening here is that people think the ideal age is closer to their own age group, but overall the evidence highlights that people view middle age as having the highest prestige, status and all the rest." 

They added: "The differences YouGov found for health and wisdom reflect two very well established stereotypes — that younger people are more capable and competent, but that older people are more warm, trustworthy, experienced and wise."

The survey found that almost three-quarters of people aged between 18 and 24 would live as a child for a week if they could. Almost 30 per cent said they would take up the offer even if it meant having one year less to live.

However, the desire to live as a child decreased among the older age ranges. Only 56 per cent of the 25-49 bracket, 40 per cent of the 50-64 bracket and 35 per cent of the over 65s said they would go back to being a child for a week.