Macro-Level Predictors of Old-Age Threshold Perception: A Comparative Study Using ESS, Ipsos, and Eurobarometer Data

Lukasz Jurek
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIV, Issue 4B, 723-739, 2021
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/2767


Purpose: Perception of age, at which people start being considered as "old" is a complex and multidimensional issue. Such subjective impressions depend on the number of personal factors, such as: age, gender, or socioeconomic status. To some extent, however, they depend also on broader context. The article's main aim is to recognize differences between countries regarding the average perception of the old-age threshold and to evaluate macro-level factors determining these differences. Design/Methodology/Approach: Data from three different international surveys were used: Eurobarometer (2011), European Social Survey (round 9, 2018), and Ipsos (2018). Analysis was carried out using a linear correlation matrix (to set the strength and direction of the relationship) and a multiple regression model (to set the form of relationship). Findings: The average perception of the old-age threshold varies from country to country. The main predictors of this variation are, healthy-life expectancy at the age of 60, the median age of the population, and retirement age. As those factors are higher across countries, the old age is perceived (on average) as starting later. Practical Implications: Perception of old age threshold depends on predictors that are (directly or indirectly) strongly related to the modernization process, and more precisely to the technological, social and economic development. Originality/Value: We analyzed the impact of macro-level variables (contextual factors) on the average (in-country) perception of the old-age threshold using data from three different international surveys. Such data triangulation gave more comprehensive recognition of the research problem and increased the validity of obtained results.

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