Some questions tend to make people uncomfortable and can have the same effect no matter which country you’re in. Asking someone about their age is one of those.
If you feel that asking someone about their age might make them uncomfortable, don’t do it.
We surveyed people in the United States to assess whether they thought it was rude to ask someone about their age and another survey specifically asked whether they thought it was rude to ask women about their age.
Is It Rude to Ask Someone Their Age?
In our survey of 103 people, which was conducted in the United States, 51% of the respondents said that it was rude to ask someone their age. On the other hand, 49% of those surveyed, thought that it was not rude to ask someone their age.
Research has shown that a person’s health and looks are tied more to how they feel about themselves than their actual age.  For some people, age is just a number. It doesn’t bother them if someone asks about their age. Similarly, they don’t think it’s a big deal if they ask someone else about their age because it doesn’t affect their perception of the person’s capabilities or competence.
Many people are perfectly okay with being asked their age in a particular context. However, at other times those same individuals will not appreciate being asked about their age.
For example, if someone is at a private party and they’re approached by another individual and they’re having a one-on-one conversation, they might be willing to share hints about their age with that person even though they’ve just met. However, even someone who is that open about their age might be hesitant about sharing those particulars while they’re on stage giving a presentation in front of thousands of people.
Rude and Illegal Questions About Age
It’s always important to pay attention to the laws in your region before you ask questions about age.
If you are interviewing for a job, questions about age are generally not considered appropriate.
Asking such a question may expose your company to the possibility of a discrimination suit. Invasive and discriminatory hiring practices are generally frowned upon in many sectors.
If a question may pry into an individual’s privacy rights, you shouldn’t ask it in a job interview. In the United States, individuals over the age of 40 are protected by laws that prevent employers from discriminating against them because of age. You are not allowed to ask any questions about an interviewee’s age, even if their graduation date hints at their age. 
Is It Rude to Ask a Woman Her Age?
We asked the same 103 people whether it was okay to ask women their age. In this case, 60% said it was rude to ask a woman her age, while 40% said it was okay to ask women about their age.
It’s seen as rude to ask a woman her age in many cultures. This is sometimes due to ageism in cultures, which says that people have less to contribute to society as they become older. Although this belief sometimes exists in many cultures, it’s untrue because people gain experience and knowledge as they grow older and they’re better able to give back to society.
To avoid being stereotyped, women who already face discrimination because of their gender are also not readily inclined to tell their age. Not revealing their age gives them greater freedom to be assessed based on their performance in the workplace and other contexts, instead of being hampered by a stereotype. 
Some Women Are Sensitive About Aging
It’s sometimes regarded as rude to ask a woman their age even if it’s not considered rude to ask a man of the same age that question. This is because women are sometimes considered to be more sensitive about aging.
Women are often the main customer base of companies that produce anti-aging cosmetics, even though several products have been developed for men. Even men and women who don’t appear to give much thought to their appearance want to feel energetic and enjoy many of the positive aspects of life that are sometimes mistakenly associated with youth.
When in doubt, it’s better to keep silent on the issue of age with a woman. If you must comment on age, it’s usually best to compliment her on her looks.
If you mistakenly ask the wrong woman a question about her age or tell her that she looks older than she is, you could make an enemy.
Asking a Romantic Interest Their Age
Many people are interested in having an idea of the age of the person that they’re dating. There are several reasons for this. For one, it helps them to avoid legal troubles that could result from dating someone underage. From that perspective, wanting to know how old a potential partner is, is understandable. However, this topic should be approached with care just as it would be in any other situation.
After a certain age, you can easily tell that another person is a consenting adult. However, you should still be careful about who you ask about their age because it can sometimes be perceived as rude.
You definitely shouldn’t ask that type of question on a first date.
Don’t press the issue if a romantic interest doesn’t want to reveal their age. If a man or woman appears uncomfortable with sharing information about their age but you’re attracted to them, let the issue go. If there is chemistry and you feel that there are qualities there that would make them a good match for you and you want to learn even more about them, their age is not critical.
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.