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Why 37 is a very special age


Lately, some things have been making me feel pretty old. Things like how far down I have to scroll now to find my birth year when filling in forms on websites, or that many young sentient people today do not remember America before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Things like the gradual loosening of the skin on my neck, or that many of my coworkers are too young to remember the critically acclaimed 1992 movie “3 Ninjas.”

Okay, that’s enough for my “I’m old” rant – now it’s time for yours.

The fascinating chart below, created by Nathan Yau of Flowing Data using estimates from 2014 U.S. Census data, will help you understand just how old you are compared to the American population. The green wedge on top shows you the percentage of the U.S. population that is older than you, while the pink wedge shows the percentage that is younger than you. You can track your age along the horizontal axis. As you age (move along the horizontal axis to the right), the percentage that is older than you falls, while the percentage that is younger than you rises.

So, for example, if you are 30, you can see that roughly 58 percent of the American population is older than you, while 40 percent of the population is younger than you.

If you are 50, 32 percent of the American population is older than you, while 67 percent is younger than you.

According to 2014 data, the magical tipping point where half the U.S. population is younger than you and half is older than you is 37.

Check out the original graph, which is interactive, at Yau’s site.

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Researchers are working on technology that will look at the way a person's face has aged so far to estimate how it may age in the future. (Video: Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)