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Baby Boomers

Age is catching up with the baby boomers--the third of the population born between 1946 and 1964--but many aren’t ready to admit it. A survey of more than 1,200 30-50-year-olds finds that most (76%) are convinced that they look younger than their actual age. Most (73%) also believe that people who were 50 a generation ago looked a lot older than do today’s 50-year-olds. The Louis Harris Poll, financed by Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., maker of Renova skin cream, also found:

  • Concerns. As boomers get older, 66% worry about gaining weight, 30% worry about losing hair, 28% worry about losing hair, 28% worry about getting facial wrinkles and 24% worry about getting gray hair.
  • Signs of Age. When judging people’s age, most boomers (58%) are influenced by facial wrinkles or brown spots. Lesser numbers are influenced by gray hair (46%), excess weight (37%) and hair loss (34%).
  • Gender. More than a third (37%) of boomers think men age more gracefully than women; 22% say women age more gracefully. Most (77%) think women worry more than men about an aging facial appearance.
  • Good wrinkles. Most boomers (56) think facial wrinkles can be assets for a man “because they indicate experience and maturity.” But only 44% believe that wrinkles can be assets for a woman.

The typical boomer, the survey finds, thinks middle age begins at 41. Older boomers have a much different view of middle age than do younger boomers. “If you could stay one age forever, what age would it be? the survey asks. Boomers in their early 30s tend to wish they could have stayed in their 20s. The favorite age cited by boomers from 45 to 50 is “45 or older.”

U.S.News & World Report, July 29, 1996.