When Do You Become a Senior Citizen?

Only half of 64-year-olds consider themselves seniors


There is no clearly defined age when an American becomes a senior citizen. Some people might consider themselves seniors when they are invited to join AARP, qualify for Medicare, or officially retire from the workplace. Some 96 percent of current 50-year-olds don’t consider themselves senior citizens and only slightly over half (56 percent) of 64-year-olds say the term senior citizen applies to them, according to a Del Webb survey released today.

[See When Does Old Age Begin?]

The 50-year-olds in the survey say they are not senior citizens because they are under age 65, aren’t eligible for entitlements, and simply don’t feel like a senior. And about half the 64-year-olds say senior citizen status does not apply to them because they don’t feel like a senior and are still active and young at heart. The 64-year-olds who embrace the term say they are seniors because they get senior discounts and are over age 60.

[See 30 Fast-Growing Careers for Older Workers.]

Both the older and younger baby boomers indicate that they feel younger than their chronological age. The 50-year-olds say they feel a median age of 39 and the 64-year-olds generally feel 50. The younger boomers say a person becomes old at age 78, while the older boomers indicate that old age begins at 80.

Tell us, when do you become a senior citizen?