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I wanna live forever why 40 is the new 30

A group of staff and students from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention invite you to come and ‘rethink’ age. ’40 is the new 30’ is an expression which is often heard, but what does it actually mean? Come and find out – and learn how the number of remaining years we expect to live for may well define us more than our actual ‘age’.

We are all familiar with the challenge of population ageing and are frequently told about how it is likely to be a major threat to our future prosperity through the costs of welfare and health as well as through productivity. The team conducted a special survey which aimed to find out what people know about the demographic background to the ‘pensions crisis’ in the UK and to try and explain the role of tremendous changes in not only life expectancy at older ages but also across the entire adult life span. We will be exploring the results of this in a post which will be published as part of our ‘Rethinking ageing’ series.

In another activity, the team explored the concept of ’40 as the new 30’ – in terms of the remaining life expectancy of a 30 year old in the (surprisingly recent) past being the same as a 40 year old today. Using this new demographic ‘fact’ we try to introduce museum visitors to the concept of ‘prospective ageing’ as a better means of comparing ages over time and space. Come and find out how ‘old’ you would have been in Britain in 1950 and 2050 as well as in countries with very and low mortality. 

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We are grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for their support through the University of Oxford’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

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