23 - mid or early 20s?

I’ve always argued it’s early 20s because it’s just as close to the middle (your 25th birthday) as being 26 which is always considered your mid 20s.


20 21 22 | 23 24 | 25 26 | 27 28 29

Most people disagree with me, since they are thinking the “3” is counting from 1 to 10 but in fact you are counting from 0 to 9. Age 23 is the 4th out of 10 years of your 20s.

It just irks me people don’t understand this grade school mathematical concept, lol. You’d think they’d be smarter!

I’ve also heard the argument age 20 is a category of its own and your “20s” refers to 21-29 only, but I don’t really buy into it.

Why is 25 the ‘middle’?
There are 5 years (in your twenties) before it and only 4 years afterwards.

Of course there’s no easy way to divide 10 years into three equal groups.
So you might as well be symmetrical and say:

20-22 early
23-26 middle
27-29 late

In any case, this is not a ‘mathematical concept’.
It’s just a way of describing an age.
It’s not even shorthand, since saying “I’m 23” is quicker and more precise that saying “I’m in my mid-twenties.”


Your 25th birthday is the middle, however 24 is just as central as 25.

To me these terms denote a stage of your life/level of maturity more than a specific number. Generally speaking a 23 year old will be only a year or so out of college, possibly still live at home, be on his parent’s insurance, have a low-paying/entry level job, etc. In addition he’ll look pretty young. These qualities place one in their “early 20’s” regardless of their proximity to the mathematical “middle” of their 3rd decade of life.

Of course there’s a lot of grey area and these are hardly set in stone, but that’s why I usually consider 23 part of the early 20’s: at 23 I had more in common with most 21 and 22 year-olds than I did with most 24-26 year olds.

Male: “early”
Female: “mid”

Any opportunity to help underscore the generally vast difference in maturity between men and women around this age should be utilized.

Absolutely no logic to it, but for me it’s:

early twenties (21-23)
mid twneties (24-27)
late twenties (28-29)

Like I said… no real logic behind it.

Early 20s: 20-25
Mid 20s: 25-28
Late 20s: 28-46

Why the hell can’t there be overlap?

Early twenties: 20-24
Mid twenties: 23-27
Late twenties: 26-29

Or however the hell you feel like labeling yourself.

I figure if you’re 20, you will say you’re 20 to avoid people thinking you’re old.

Then 21, 22, 23 are early 20s

24, 25, 26 are mid 20s

27, 28, 29 are late 20s

++. The whole point of a term like "mid 20’s is that you don’t know or remember the exact age.

On a sadder note, what does “middle-aged” mean? My friend laughed at me when I described myself that way; he claimed “middle-age” was the middle of the normal three-score-and-ten lifespan, i.e. 35 years old. :smack:

If you live to be 84 or so, and become an adult at about 20, that gives you 64 years of adulthood, so in the middle of your adulthood you’re about 52. Add about eight years on either side and there you go. So I guess I’m more generous than your friend but not as generous as my 70 year-old friends who want to be considered middle-age.

I do remember my mother-in-law, in her seventies, talking about neighbors or friends, and always qualifying them as “old people” or “elderly.” I was in my twenties and could only blink at her pronouncements because seventy was as old as the hills to me.

I’ve never heard that before, but it makes so much more sense than the “middle of your entire lifespan” thing!

My younger brother tried to describe himself as “middle-aged” when he was 35. :rolleyes: Mom and I laughed him out of the room.

This is my answer as well. I wouldn’t argue with anyone aged 20 who said they were in their 20’s though.

I’d say 20-23 is early, 24-27 is mid, and 28-29 are late.

So you are in your early 20s for four years, mid-20s for four years, and late 20s for two years? That hardly seems fair.

That, and when I date 23-year-olds, it sounds better if I can say they’re in their mid-20s, so that’s my vote.

I can’t answer for the twenties, but 40-46 is early forties. 47-49 + 364 days is mid forties. I admit to a slight bias.

20-22 - early-20s
22-27 - mid-20s
27-29 - late-20’s

No reason they need to be equal. I’m fine with 22 being considered either early or mid, and 27 being considered either mid or late.

Geez! Kids these days …


Sorry, I mean I’ve argued it’s mid 20s.