Age 50 Survey

The Age 50 Survey took place in 2008. Just under 10,000 of you took part.

What we asked

when-you-were-50-grandparentsBefore your interview we posted you a paper questionnaire which covered health, attitudes, leisure activities and asked you to write a little about how you imagined your life to be at age 60.

You were then visited at home by an interviewer who asked you about who you lived with, where you lived, relationships, children, family life, income, employment, pensions and attitudes to retirement, qualifications and training, computer use, health, smoking and drinking, exercise, religion, political activity.

As part of the interview you also completed a series of assessments which measured memory, concentration and other aspects of cognitive ability.

When you were 50…


  • Around 7 in 10 were living with a spouse and 1 in 10 lived with a
    cohabiting partner.
  • Just over 4 in 5 had at least one child – the most common number of children being two. Children ranged in age from newly born to 36 but the average age was just under 21.
  • Many children had left home but around 7 in 10 parents still lived with at least one child.
  • The most commonly experienced health problems were high blood pressure (affecting just over 1 in 6 men and 1 in 7 women) and back problems (suffered by just over 1 in 6 men and women).
  • Just under 9 in 10 men are in paid employment, almost all on a full-time basis. Half of women were working full-time and almost a third were working part-time
  • Most of you report fairly high levels of life satisfaction. When asked to give a score out of ten as to how satisfied you were with how your lives had turned out so far the average score was just over seven.

Related downloads

Now We Are 50 (summary report)
This booklet is a summary of the Now We Are 50 report published in 2008 in celebration of the 50th birthday of NCDS study members.

Now We Are 50 (full report)
This report was published in 2008 in celebration of the 50th birthday of NCDS study members. It covers 50 years of social change in Britain and explains how the study’s many findings have helped to shape decision-making in policy areas such as education, employment, housing and health.