Survey: Perceptions of Age in Singapore

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Date of survey: 21 Mar 2019 to 9 Apr 2019


The aim of this survey is to find out how Singaporeans of different age are viewing ageing and retirement. Two of the main questions I asked in my survey were:

Qn 1: At what age would you consider yourself “old”?
Qn2: If you are still working, at what age, would you like to retire? If you are retired, at what age did you retire?

As the survey is self-administered, I was able to achieve a large sample size in a relatively shorter time. I also wanted to avoid interviewer bias. Some of the participants were surveyed via face-to-face interviews (especially those above the age of 60) at various sites (void decks, workplaces, community hubs) for observations of non-verbal communication and to provoke more inspiring and comprehensive answers.

Sample size: 117

  • Age 15-23 (20 participants), Teenagers and students
  • Age 24-29 (36 participants), Young working adults
  • Age 30-50 (29 participants), Stable working adults
  • Age 51-61 (16 participants), Near Retirement age
  • Age 62 & above (16 participants), Retirement age

The Results

Results graph

As we can see from the results, both “old” age and retirement age is shown on an upward trend across the age groups. The only anomaly is the 15-23 age group. My guess is that they are still young and aren’t feeling the pressures of working life as compared to those age 24 -29, whom just graduated and just entered the workforce. 

The word clouds above were created using Wordle. Keywords were extracted from the qualitative answers given by participants and compiled. One surprising finding is that a large bulk of those age 62 and above (reached retirement age) do not think they are old and do not have any wishes for retirement. The younger people are associating old age with physical deterioration and health problems. This shows that the negative stereotypes of older people exist in the mindset of the young. In addition, younger people are looking at retiring earlier to spend more time to enjoy life. Those age 15-23 states the “standard retirement age” for their reason to retire. This shows that Singapore being a nanny-state is causing us to think less as everything is planned for us by the government (but this shouldn’t be the case). 

I have gotten very insightful results from this survey and I have an inkling on the perceptions of our fellow Singaporeans. I will continue to deduce the responses to see if I am able to find new problems during the semester break. 

Other Findings

These are some of my other findings collected from the other questions from my survey. 

Terms most commonly used to address people age 60 and above: 

Age 15-29

Age 30-49

Age 50-59

Terms people age 60 and above PREFER to be addressed with: 

Terms people age 60 and above OPPOSE to be addressed with: 

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