The average ideal age selected by people is 36 years old - but it is 29 for physical health and 51 for wisdom
Calculating the ideal age is not as simple as it sounds. Younger people have a significantly higher than average number of friends, however according to various analyses older people are more likely to be satisfied with their physical appearance, are less likely to be stressed and although life-satisfaction declines from the mid-twenties it peaks again around age 69.
Older is often, but not always, better – and new YouGov research confirms this.
There is a relatively high level of consensus on the best overall age. 36 is the average age chosen, with the range of average responses per age-group varying by 15 years (27 for 18-24s; 42 for over-65s).
When YouGov asked the question in Germany and the US, the average ideal ages given were 37 and 34 respectively.
When it comes to the ideal age in terms of wisdom (51), the average age per generation ranges only from 49 to 56.
With physical health each age group tend to bend the ideal towards their own age, but the physical ideal falls within the 24-34 range.
Science says that physical activities which require brief and intense bursts of energy are best performed my those in their mid-twenties, while endurance activities are better suited to people in their thirties and fourties, and the decline in performance is more gradual.
The generation that can't grow up
What would you give to turn the clock back? If you're young, you might even give a year of your life.
We asked people if they would go back to being a child for a week if they could, and fully 74% of 18-24s say they would, while 29% say they would even in exchange for a dying a year sooner. Only 35% of over-65s say they would be a child for a week, falling to just 12% if it cost a year of life.
There's also a small difference between men and women, with net +12 of men saying they would go back to childhood at no cost compared to +2 of women, and net -49 of men doing so at the expense of a year compared to net -58 of women.