When does middle age start?

I was once accused of being middle-aged. I didn’t agree. In response, I looked up the data from the European Social Survey, in which tens of thousands of Europeans were asked: “When does middle age begin?”, and made a dashboard out of the results.

Some might call this an overreaction.

But when does middle age start? Is it just 40 years old, a flat figure across all times and places? If life expectancy increases, does that mean middle age starts later? Let’s see what the Europeans thought (this is made for desktop)…


As you can see it varies a lot country to country. In France and Spain people think middle age starts in your early to mid 30s. In Italy, not until your early 50s. The overall mean was 41.8. It seems people generally agree on this regardless of their own age, although males think middle age starts a tad later than females do. The life expectancy of the countries didn’t seem to be a factor either.

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