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What Age is Considered A Senior Citizen?

  • Senior Centers, Financial Planning, Senior Center FAQ's, Senior Citizens
  • 2024-06-11 22:29:34

You might be curious about what age qualifies as a senior citizen, whether it’s because you’re counting down the years until you can snag those senior discounts, or perhaps you’re a youngster scheming some old fashioned teasing for your parents. Whatever your reason, we’re here to help clarify at what age someone is considered a senior citizen in the U.S., how this varies across different businesses (getting those senior discounts) , and what the criteria is in other countries.

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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition

A senior citizen (noun) is an older adult and especially one who is age 65 or older.

Age 55 As A Senior Citizen

If we are looking at the age of 55, which some businesses and entities label as the beginning of a senior citizen, then we see that a lot of retail stores and restaurants offer senior discounts to individuals age 55 or older.

55+ Retail Senior Discounts

Many stores offer discounts for seniors starting at age 55. For example, you can get a 10% discount at Michael’s, Ross, and Walgreens under certain conditions. Grocery chains like Fred Meyer and Fry’s offer similar discounts on specific days or products

55+ Restaurant Senior Discounts

Restaurants like Chili’s, Denny’s, and IHOP offer various discounts and senior menus for individuals aged 55 and older​.

The list of benefits and discounts is extensive, and you can find a complete list here. While many retail companies define the start of senior age at 55+, it’s worth noting that this threshold often coincides with a period in life where individuals are reaching their financial peak, according to the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances for ages 55-74.

This designation may be strategically advantageous for businesses, as this age group has considerable purchasing power but tends to be more conservative in spending, often refraining from frequent dining out or attending entertainment events but can be allured by a sweet senior discount.

What Businesses or Entities Say a Senior is 62?

In the United States, several businesses and entities categorize individuals as seniors starting at age 62. This designation is often associated with various benefits and discounts. Here are some key entities that consider 62 as the senior age:

  • Social Security Administration: Although early retirement benefits can be taken at 62, full benefits depend on the birth year.
  • National Park Service: Offers a Senior Pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 62 or older, which provides access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by the federal government.
  • Public Transit: Many public transit systems offer discounted fares to seniors, with the age eligibility often set at 62.
  • Housing: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides certain types of housing assistance for seniors, starting at 62 years old, such as the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program.
  • These organizations use the age of 62 as a marker for senior status, offering various discounts and benefits that cater to older adults.

    The Government Identified Age Of A Senior | Age 65

    In the United States, the government generally makes it clear that at 65, a U.S. citizen is considered a senior citizen. This is the age where an individual can become eligible for government benefits like Medicare and you are almost eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits (age 67), though individuals can start receiving reduced Social Security benefits at the age of 62. If you delay even further, up until age 70, your benefits increase each year you wait. Apply Here

    Other 65+ Benefits

  • Senior Discounts: Many companies offer senior discounts starting at age 65. This can include lower prices on goods and services ranging from groceries to airline tickets.
  • Seniors 65+: enjoy higher standard deductions, tax credits, medical expense breaks, and property tax benefits to ease their financial burdens.
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): Seniors can receive free health insurance counseling through SHIP programs, particularly useful when navigating Medicare choices starting at age 65.
  • Public Transit: Many public transit systems offer enhanced discounts to seniors starting at age 65, making commuting more affordable.
  • Senior Housing: Age 65 is often the starting point for eligibility in various senior housing and assisted living programs that offer specialized care and community activities.
  • Cultural and Recreational Discounts: Many museums, theaters, parks, and recreational facilities offer entry discounts or special memberships starting at age 65.
  • What age is considered a senior citizen in California?

    In California, you might consider yourself a senior citizen when you start qualifying for various age-specific benefits. At age 55, you become eligible for senior discounts at numerous retail stores and restaurants. By 62, you can access benefits like the National Park Service Senior Pass and reduced fares on public transit. At 65, you are eligible for Medicare, while full Social Security benefits kick in at age 66 or 67, depending on your birth year, with potential increases if you delay up to age 70.

    What age is considered a senior citizen in Illinois?

    In Illinois, senior citizens are typically considered to be individuals who are 65 years of age or older. This age is significant as it qualifies seniors for a variety of state-sponsored benefits and programs designed to aid their quality of life. Some of these benefits include the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP), which provides free counseling services on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance matters. Additionally, the Benefit Access Program offers perks like the Seniors Ride Free Transit Benefit and a license plate discount, both aimed at improving mobility and reducing living costs for seniors​ (Illinois Department on Aging)

    Furthermore, seniors aged 65 and older in Illinois may be eligible for property tax exemptions to help ease the financial burden of homeownership​ (Illinois Department on Aging)​. Each of these programs underscores Illinois’ commitment to supporting its senior population through various stages of their later years.

    What Age Is Considered a Senior Citizen in Ohio

    In Ohio, the age considered to be a senior citizen typically starts at 60 years old. This age threshold qualifies individuals for a variety of benefits and discounts, such as reduced fares on public transportation and special pricing at many local businesses, restaurants, and retail stores. Additionally, seniors in Ohio can apply for the Golden Buckeye Card, which offers additional discounts and savings across a range of services once they reach this age​.

    Other Countries Retirement Ages and Senior Citizen Benefits Beginning

    Country Age for Senior Citizen Status Notable Benefits and Context
    United States 65 Eligible for Medicare and many other senior benefits.
    United Kingdom 60 or 65 Age 60 often for state pension benefits.
    Canada 65 Benchmark age for senior citizen benefits, varies by province.
    Australia 65 Eligibility for the Age Pension and other senior benefits.
    India 60 Aligns with retirement and eligibility for government benefits.
    Philippines 60 Benefits include discounts on medicine, healthcare, transportation.
    Japan 65 (some at 60) Some benefits start from age 60.
    Austria 65 Common age for senior discounts and benefits.
    Belgium 65 Some benefits may be available earlier under certain conditions.
    China 60 (Men), 50-55 (Women) Age varies for women depending on employment type.
    Colombia 62 Standard age for recognizing senior citizens.
    Croatia 65 by 2030 Transitioning to uniform age of 65 for retirement.
    Czech Republic Over 67 Transitioning based on birth year and other factors.
    Denmark 67 by 2022 Set to increase based on lifespan.
    Estonia 65 by 2026 Gradual increase to 65.
    Finland 63.75 to 68 Ranges based on birth year and expected lifespan.
    France 65 Typical age for recognition as a senior citizen.
    Chile 60 Standard age for senior status.
    Egypt 60 Recognized age for senior citizens.
    Greece 65 Typical starting age for senior citizen status.
    Italy 65 Commonly recognized as senior citizens at this age.
    Portugal 65 Age for recognition as a senior citizen.
    Russia 55 (Women), 60 (Men) Gender-differentiated ages for senior status.
    South Africa 60 Standard age for recognizing senior citizens.
    Thailand 60 Defined starting age for senior citizen status.


    In the United States, while there are specific ages at which you qualify for Medicare (65), Social Security benefits (as early as 62), and various senior discounts, the concept of being a senior citizen doesn’t have to be strictly tied to age. You might choose to identify as a senior based on your life experiences, retirement status, or simply how you feel about your place in life. It’s important to recognize that labeling oneself as a senior can bring a mix of emotions, but it also opens the door to a range of benefits designed to support wellbeing in later years. Embracing this stage can offer not just financial advantages but also opportunities for enriched community engagement and personal growth.

    If you are looking for a senior center near you with activities and to meet new people and socialize as a senior feel free to search our comprehensive directory for seniors!

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