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Time and quality of life increased so much in the last century that new metrics were necessary to determine when youth, maturity and old age begin and end. Specialists are working on adjusting these age brackets, re-discussing subjective concepts directly impacted by economic, social and cultural variables. In such a big world and with such different realities, this work is going to take a long time.

One issue everyone agrees: the population is undergoing a “dischronoligization” process, says Unicamp anthropology professor Guita Grin Deberta. Appearance and habits no longer correspond with the numbers each person bears on their birth certificate. Sergei Scherbov – one of the world’s premier specialists in populational metrics and demographics professor at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis – says, for example, that the 60s can be the new 50s. Does this mean that today’s 60-year-olds are younger than those in the last century? It seems so, at least in terms of future opportunities.

So, instead of counting the numbers of years already lived, Scherbov analyzes how many years on average there still are ahead. For example, in the 2000s, a 62-year-old Australian could plan on another 19½ years of life. In 1950, for a person to count on the same amount of time of future life, this person had to be eight years younger. “To treat aging solely based on chronological age is incomplete and inadequate,” says Scherbov.

When does old age begin? This was the question posed in a Datafolha survey with 2,732 Brazilians ages 16 and up. The majority of answers varied between 57.8 and 68.9 years. 10% of interviewees did not answer the question. Another piece of data investigated was when youth ends, which also fluctuated between 29.7 and 43.5 years. What also drew attention were extreme answers like youth ending at age 14 and old age beginning at 100.

Elderly in Brazil. In 2000, there were 9.7 million people 65 or older – less than 6% of the population. The number doubled to 17.6 million in 2017, surpassing 8%. In 2030, 30 million Brazilians (or 13% of total) will be more than 65 years old according to IBGE estimates. Is this a sign that the country is becoming older? For those who count years already lived, yes. Click here for full article.