Poll: 50 Is The “Perfect” Age

Young enough to still be in good health, old enough that you're not "tied down babysitting"

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Karwai Tang / Getty Images

Actor Johnny Depp turned 50 this year on June 9

Good news for the older and wiser: Americans think 50 is the best age, according to a new survey.

In an online poll, the market research firm Harris Interactive asked 2,242 adults, “If you could skip time and live forever in good health at a particular age, what age would you like to live at?”  Based on an average of all responses, those surveyed said the ideal age is 50.  Echo-Boomers (18-36 year olds) said 38, Generation X (37-48 year olds) said 49, Baby Boomers (49-67 year olds) said 55, while people over 68 said 67. On average, men said 47, while women said 53. People without kids agreed with 53, while those with kids still at home said 45.

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“Lots of people don’t have grandchildren by 50 so you’re not necessarily tied down babysitting,” psychologist Barbara Becker Holstein told The TODAY Show. “Of course, given how slowly young people mature now, you may still be dealing with someone in their 20s who loves living at home.”

The results of the Harris Poll also varied based on geographic location; midwesterners said 50, Easterners said 53, people in the West said 47. And in terms of political affiliation, the poll concluded, “either the more conservative you are the more your perfect age goes up, or the more liberal you are the more your perfect age goes down!”

(MORE: Study Says 23 and 64 Are The Happiest Ages)

Over the summer, a larger survey of 23,161 participants conducted by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics reported 23 and 64 are the best ages, arguing happiness levels decline after the early twenties, pick up again in the mid-fifties, and fall again after 75.

Celebrities who reached the “perfect age” this year include actress Vanessa Williams, designer Marc Jacobs, and Friends star Lisa Kudrow. Actor Johnny Depp, who turned 50 on June 9, said, “It’s great fun growing old,” while director Quentin Tarantino, who turned 50 on March 27, bemoaned having to wear glasses to read now.

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