Combining round four data from the European Social Survey (ESS) with indicators of Active Ageing, we examine conditions conducive to age integration. We use both a behavioural and an attitudinal measure of age integration: the prevalence of cross-age friendships and low levels of ageism. The analyses focus on both “young” (age 18 to 30) and “old” (ages 70 to 90). Interestingly, high levels of independence, health and security in late life, and greater capacity to actively age rather than high levels of working, volunteering, caring and political engagement among the old create the greatest opportunities for meaningful cross-age interactions. These findings suggest that quality of life, well-being and autonomy contribute to a general atmosphere facilitating sustained familiarity of the old with the young. Caution is advised in equating high levels of active engagement among the elderly with conditions enabling durable interactions between young and old, thereby promoting a better understanding of people of different ages. “Productive ageing” will in and of itself not lead to greater age integration.

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Note Chapter accepted for publication in: Building Evidence for Active Ageing Policies: Active Ageing Index and its Potential (Asghar Zaidi, Sarah Harper, Kenneth Howse, Giovanni Lamura, & Jolanta Perek-Białas, editors). Palgrave McMillan, 2016.
Dykstra, P.A, & Fleischmann, M. (2016). Are societies with a high value on the Active Ageing Index more age-integrated?. Retrieved from