Age discrimination 'rooted' in society, Government finds
Old age officially begins when people reach the age of 54 and youth ends when people turn 32, a Government survey has found.Photo: Alamy
People under the age of 25 believe old age starts sooner than those over the age of 50, a survey of British attitudes by the Department for Work and Pensions has found.
On average, Britons believe that old age starts at 59 while youth ends at 41.It found that people over 80 believe that youth ends at 52 while old age starts at 68.
Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister, said that attitudes towards age must change due to Britain’s rapidly ageing population.
With the retirement age for men and women reaching 66 by 2020, the minister said that people must alter their perceptions of when people become ‘old’.
“The idea that we are ‘old’ at 59 belongs in the era of Downton Abbey – not in 2012,” said Mr Webb.
He said that the country is “on the brink of a new world”.
“People today are living longer, working longer and contributing more in their later lives. This is great news and it is important that our perceptions of age keep up with the reality of our increasing longevity,” the minister said.
The DWP report, called Attitudes to Age in Britain, found that old people have the opposite attitude towards young people.
The DWP based its analysis on an Office for National Statistic survey of almost 2,200 people.
The report concluded that "age-related stereotypes are rooted in British society”.
According to the DWP’s research, one in three people have experienced some form of prejudice in the last year because of their age.
One in seven people said that having a boss in their 70s is “completely unacceptable”, while just one in 20 were unwilling to accept a boss in their 30s.
Despite this, the survey found that people over 70 are viewed as more friendly, more competent and as having higher moral standards than people in their 20s.
The DWP said that the ageing population presents a number of challenges to society.
These include social exclusion, whereby older people are left feeling “isolated and excluded from opportunities”.
The DWP also said that the economy could suffer due to lost productivity if older workers are not given jobs that they are willing and able to perform.
“It is imperative that a fuller understanding of attitudes to age is sought if the Government is to successfully develop and implement strategies to ensure social inclusion of older people,” the report said.
The report found that young people also suffer age discrimination.
Under-25s were found to be twice as likely to have experienced age discrimination as other age groups.
As well as different age groups having different ideas of what constitutes old and young, differences in attitudes were found between genders.
Men think that people stop being young earlier than females do, the DWP found. Men also believe that old age starts sooner than women do.
Monday, 23 January 2012
Age discrimination 'rooted' in society, Government finds - Telegraph