How do you define your "age group"?

When you find out how old somebody else is, how many years difference in your and their ages do you accept as “same age group”?

Poll on the way. Anonymous. One vote per Doper.

Since nearly all pop culture that isn’t within four years of each other seems firmly out of place in the cultural zeitgeist, I’d say that anyone who isn’t within four years of my own is also not in my age group.

Incidentally, that’s why it’s futile to try to divide music up into decades, because the tail ends will never seem like each other, simply because there was too much space in between them. For those who were there, the music just feels out of place. Whereas if they are within four years of each other, the songs seem much more matching to a certain place and time.

I guess that also means that I am more likely to have related to the same cultural touchstones in the same way as people in my “age group”. (Well, except emo. The pop-punk when I was in my teens and 20s sucked or was nonexistent compared to the mid-2000s)

My thoughts on the subject are a lot like yours, Ludovic, in that I think of the people I was in school with as being “in my age group.” Even more to your point of “within four years,” that covers the span of Seniors when I was a Freshman, to Freshmen when I was a Senior, and that’s a total of seven years, with me in the middle.

I tend to allow more years on the plus side then the minus side. In other words, somebody four years older is more apt to be “in my group” than somebody four years younger.

What got me thinking about all this is seeing the birth years for actors and actresses near my age, and realizing that I rarely relate to much younger ones and am more in sync with those who are up to five years older.

My current age is a factor that might not have been as loose 20 years ago. :wink:

I tend to think in terms of “about my place in the Baby Boom”, roughly, born 1954-1960. The early Boomers, 1946-1953, are too old, the late Boomers, 1961-1964, are too young.

I’m 27 and consider my age group to be 24-31 or so. I imagine the older I get, the wider my acceptable range will become. Because when I was still in high school, my age group was pretty much only the people in my grade.

I’m 53 and I think folks roughly 45 to 65 are generally within my “age group.” My wife is 43. She’s in my age group, but at the very low end. My mother is 74. She’s not. Having been born in 1958, though, I can relate to many things from my parents’ generation more than my wife’s age group–rotary dial phones, three clear channels of black and white broadcast TV, 45 rpm records, no cable, no home computers, no VCRs, one family car, walking to school a mile uphill. . . those kind of things.

What I think of my age group isn’t exactly symmetrical about my actual age, because I look, act, and feel several years younger than my 58 years. Most people 7-8 years older than me feel a LOT older, while most people 10-15 years younger feel like my peers. So I’d characterize my age group as running from 40-60.

Judging from the first 53 votes, I’d say the SDMB’s prevailing attitude is that you’re in the same age group as anybody from 1 1/2 years to 10 years different from your own age.

18-30 months                           1 1.89% 
31-47 months                           4 7.55% 
4-6 years                             35 66.04% 
7-10 years                            12 22.64% 
11-15 years                            0 0% 
Over 15 years (please say how many)    1 1.89% 

Voters: 53

And most feel you could tighten that to 5 years.

If pressed, I’d say five years down and three years up, give or take a bit. But really I think less in terms of actual age, and more with places in their lives. I fit with anyone who is unmarried, out of college or returning, and still feels like a kid trying out being an adult.

When I was a kid, “my age group” was only 2-3 years in either direction and even that was stretching it. In my twenties and thirties, that range expanded by a year or two each way. In my forties and fifties, it expanded a bit further. Now that I’m in my sixties, I definitely think 7-10 years in either direction is in my range.

Lil bro is six years younger than me, and growing up I figured that he knew most of the same pop culture stuff as I do because of me. Then, later on, I worked with people his age and it turns out a lot of people his age have the same frames of reference. So, 4-6 years it is.

I’d agree with Ludovic about pop culture and music. When you are young, you tend to define music more as the background soundtrack to your life. People my age (late 30s) tend to get nostalgic about 80s music and 90s alt rock since that defined their high school and college years.

Someone born in the mid 80s and both might say “yeah I love U2! I listened to them all the time in high school!”. Except I’m talking about Joshua Tree and they are talking about All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

I’d also say that for me it’s not so much about specific age brackets, but where you are in life. In my 20s and 30s, people in my age group would be anyone like you said - single, out of college, who liked to party on the weekends. So 22 at the lower end.

The upper end gets fuzzy though. Around late 20s into your 30s, you join a different age group whether you like it or not. You have either gone the get married and have kids route. Or you join a differnet group that mostly consists of divorced people, permenant singles, or hipster professional types.

So it’s sort of like every 5-10 years you are expected to progress to a different “age group”.

When you’re younger and life’s timeline is more foreshortened, age cohorts are shorter, about 1 year. After high school they start to lengthen and then become several years in adulthood. Once you’re past 50, they expand even more.

I chose 4–6 years.


Hmm, I still think my definition of age group is similar to the HS analogy above. If I could’ve been in HS at the same time, we are of the age group, even if in HS, one of us would’ve been ‘grown’

Over 15, but I really can’t define: and here’s why. I work with an amazing group of people. Some are in their early 20’s, some are in mid to late 60’s. I’m 47. I don’t really think about age as much as maturity, so I think of all of them as being on my level. Somehow, age and maturity meld together in my mind because of this. So yes, it’s a weird answer, but it’s honest.

I don’t define it by any fixed range of years because I generally don’t know the exact ages of my peers, but I do still have a notion of ‘age groups’, based on circumstances and background, for example:

Parents with children approximately the same age as mine (or in the same category of school)
People who are familiar with the same music that I grew up with
People whose school exams were ‘O’ Levels and CSEs, as opposed to GCSEs
People who remember [some thing now defunct that I remember]


These ‘age groups’ aren’t necessarily very consistent in composition, obviously.

This would vary according to their age. An 18-year-old would give a much lower number than a 60-year-old. I’m 66, and my age group would be from around 55 to 69, spanning 14 years. That certainly wouldn’t be the case with an 18-year-old.

I went with 31-47 months difference but it definitely depends on your own age and where you fit generationally. It definitely gets lengthier the older you are. Ten years ago, I would have said only a year or two at absolute most (I am 28, for the record).

Demographically, I am placed in the 20-29 bracket or 26-34 bracket, depending on who’s doing the asking. I would say 26-34 is a much more accurate way of dividing it up because there is a HUGE difference between a 20 year old and a 29 year old, though the difference wouldn’t be quite as large between a 30 year old and a 39 year old, etc. Right now, 26-34 also fits quite nicely into the cusp generation between Gen X and Gen Y - a little too young for one, a little too old for the other (I am most definitely not Gen Y, no matter how many marketing people would like to tell me I am - the most glaring difference being between me and two of my former roommates who were born in '89 and couldn’t even remember things like rotary phones and the pre-digital world I grew up in; those 6 years make a huge difference, not to mention in maturity and life experience).

In terms of my immediate age group as those people whose experience would be most similar to my own, I would say 3 years below me and probably 4 or 5 years above me.

The well-reasoned explanations behind many of the choices help to suggest that the way the numbers are falling may indicate a “widening” of that predominant group.

I would welcome interpretation(s) of what these shifts suggest:

18-30 months                           1  1.89% 
31-47 months                           4  7.55%   =
4-6 years                             35 66.04%  96.23%
7-10 years                            12 22.64%   =
11-15 years                            0  0% 
Over 15 years (please say how many)    1  1.89% 

Voters: 53

7-17 months                            1  0.85% 
18-30 months                           4  3.42% 
31-47 months                          14 11.97%   =
4-6 years                             70 59.83%  92.31%
7-10 years                            24 20.51%   =
11-15 years                            2  1.71% 
Over 15 years (please say how many)    2  1.71% 

Voters: 117