They may feel they are in their prime with many years ahead of them.

But people of 54 are at the start of their old age, according to the younger generation.

And youth ends when people turn 32, say the under 25s.

A survey of 2,200 people questioned as part of research by the Department for Work and Pensions, showed that on average, Britons think old age starts at 59, while youth ends at 41.

Unsurprisingly the survey also showed that older participants deemed old age to come later with those over 80 classing the end of youth as 52 and the beginning of old age at 68. 

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said the statistics reflect negative attitude to the ageing process which must be addressed to keep up with Britain’s ageing population. 

‘The idea that we are old at 59 belongs in the era of Downton Abbey – not in 2012,’ said Mr Webb.

‘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 survey also found that having a line manager or boss in their seventies was ‘completely unacceptable’ to one-in-seven respondents, revealing the extent of Britain’s entrenched ageism.

 The department based its report on research carried out by the Office of National Statistics and found that ‘age-related stereotypes are rooted in British history’.

However, people over 70 are viewed as more approachable, outgoing, competent and with a strong moral code. 

The department said the results are an alarming indication older people could face social exclusion and are in danger of being shunned by a society unwilling to provide them with jobs.  

The report also found discrepancies between male and female perceptions of age.

Women believe old age starts later than men while men believe youth fades earlier than women.

Article from Mail Online