The Generation Name

Article date: 1 August 2013

  • Data reveals home truths on what we’re called, what we drive and where we go

Have you ever wondered why you rarely meet a teenage Terence or a retired Rachel? And why people called Emma holiday in Ibiza while Julie goes to Jamaica and Jean to Norway?

Analysis of data from the UK’s largest insurer, Aviva, has found revealing insight into the lives of the different generations and how much our name, home, holidays and belongings are determined by age.*

Mr and Mrs Average – David and Susan Smith

Aviva’s records show that the UK’s Mr and Mrs Average are David and Susan Smith who live on the High Street in a three bedroom 1970s semi-detached house with a mortgage. They drive a Ford Ka, holiday in the US, have home contents worth around £35,000 and they believe 32 is the best age to be. However, looking closer at the data shows some quirky differences between the generations.

The Name Game

Emma and Daniel, Matthew and Rachel are the names with the highest concentration among the 18-25 age group, while their parents’ generation (45-54) contains half of all Garys and Deborahs, Nigels and Alisons. And among their grandparents’ generation (over 65) are found three quarters of people called Ronald and Joan, Joyce and Jean.

Our House in the Middle of our Street

As well as names, the type of property we live in is also a reflection of the age we are – flats and maisonettes are most likely to be lived in by 25-34 year olds, with a third of everyone in a basement flat in this age group. And showing how we move and upgrade, a quarter of terraced houses are lived in by 35-44 year olds.

As we hit middle age, we reach the pinnacle of property ownership with the greatest concentration of semi-detached (25%) and detached (27%) properties lived in by people between 45 and 54. These age groups are also most likely to have three bedrooms and two or more bathrooms. As life progresses and we downsize, we choose bungalows, with more than half of these properties lived in by people over 65.  

Corsas, Clios and Citroens

We favour smaller cars in our early life with around half of Peugeot 106s, Vauxhall Corsas and Renault Clios owned by 18-24 year olds. The 25-34 age group are more likely to go for a sportier model with a third of all Toyota Celicas and Ford Pumas owned by this age group.

Utility vehicles dominate for the family- orientated middle ages, with 41% of Vauxhall Zafiras owned by 35-44 year olds and 28% of Citroen Xsara Picassos owned by 45-54 year olds. With their family grown up, the older age groups downsize again, with almost half of all Honda Jazz’s (45%) owned by those over the age of 55.

Varied Vacations

Our holiday destinations are also heavily influenced by our age. Four in ten visitors to the nightlife of the Netherlands and Ibiza are in the 18-25 bracket, while the same proportion of visitors to Japan are in the arguably more adventurous and affluent 25-34 category. In the middle age groups, the focus moves to more family-friendly and beach breaks, with 30% of visitors to Menorca in the 35-44 age group and 25% of visitors to exotic Jamaica in the 45-54 age group. The cruise appears to be king among the older age groups though, with 58% of visitors to the Fjords of Norway over the age of 55.

Prized Possessions from Tech to Traditional   

The value of our possessions in the home, such as laptops and jewellery, rises through life until we reach retirement age when it starts to fall again. Starting at £19,362 for the under 25s, it rises sharply by £6,700 and £7,800 through the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups as income rises, and we acquire more household and family possessions. It peaks among the 55-64 age group at £38,278 when the kids leave home, but declines by almost £3000 in retirement.

But asked what they were most worried about losing, being stolen or damaged,** all age groups under the age of 55 cited their laptop as the biggest concern - under 25s (47%) were the most worried about this. However, above the age of 55, losing possessions such as photos, heirlooms and books is a bigger concern with around one in four people citing these items.

Life begins at…. 32

As the data shows, age is a defining factor in many aspects of our lives, but overall 32 is regarded as the age when people are most content. The 18 to 25s are the only group where to say that the best age to be is right in the middle - at 22. The 25-34s are the only other group that cite their best age to be as within their current age band, albeit right at the start (26). Those over 35 tend to think the best age was in the past, but it does rise as people get older.

Table 1. Greatest relative frequency of names, house types, cars and holiday destinations between the age groups plus sum of home contents*  **

Age 18-25 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Names Daniel and Emma Daniel and Emma  Darren and Joanne
Gary and Deborah  Malcolm and Linda  Ronald and Joan 
House Type Flat/Maisonette  Flat/Maisonette  Terrace  Detached/Semi Detached  Detached  Bungalow 
Contents Sum £19,362  £26,072  £33,861  £37,248  £38,278  £35,402 
Car Peugeot 106  Toyota Celica  Vauxhall Zafira  Citroen Xsara Picasso  Honda Jazz Honda Jazz 
Holiday destination Netherlands  Japan  Menorca  Jamaica  Norway  Norway 
Best age to be 22  26  30  32  39 42 


Heather Smith, marketing director at Aviva said: “The past decades have been a time of great change and it’s fascinating to see these differences between the generations. As trends have come and gone, we have whole age groups identifiable by their name, where they live, what they drive and where they holiday.

“It shows a remarkable progression through life as we change from wanting lively holidays and nippy city cars to going on child-friendly beach breaks and driving family run-a-rounds, to preferring the quiet life with a cruise and a hatchback. 

“But despite all the differences, one thing in common is the need to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the things we own – from the cars we drive to the houses we live in and all the possessions we accumulate through our lives.”

Download the Generation Name infographic PDF (50KB)

More information

*The data relating to names, property types, cars, holiday destinations and contents sum assured is taken from more than 1 million Aviva customer records. Each data set has been analysed to reveal the highest concentrations of any name, house type, car type, holiday destination etc within that age group. For example, while John is the most common name for an over 65 male, and 46% of people called John are in this age group, Ronald is the name with the highest concentration as 72.4% of people called Ronald are in this age group. Full data tables for names, cars, holidays and properties are available on request.  In order to get the required sample the top 100 names, top 50 holiday destinations and top 50 cars on Aviva’s customer records have been analysed.

** Data relating to what people were most concerned about losing, being stolen or damaged and the best age to be came from consumer research conducted by Opinion Matters among a sample of 2,046 UK adults between 14th and 27th June 2013

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If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva Press Office:  John Franklin 01603 680795

The Wriglesworth Consultancy:  Hugh Murphy 020 7427 1400

Notes to editors:

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