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    Bad economy~Delays 'Adulthood'


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    Bad economy~Delays 'Adulthood' Empty Bad economy~Delays 'Adulthood'

    Post  giovonni Fri May 14, 2010 4:05 am

    Bad economy~Delays 'Adulthood' Youngadults

    Bad economy~Delays 'Adulthood'

    By Jeanna Bryner

    A 22-year-old today might have much more in common with his or her
    grandfather or even great-grandfather than his own parents, a new study
    suggests. The reason: Young Americans, like their counterparts in the
    early 1900s, are taking their time leaving home and becoming
    full-fledged adults.

    The researchers say it comes down to economics, as young people today
    are more financially insecure and take home lower wages. The result:
    greater burden on parents, of course.

    The result can be more than close quarters for burgeoning personalities
    and bodies. We're in the middle of a recession (though experts argue on
    whether we're truly in or out of the financial dive), which is already
    putting pressures on middle-class families, say the researchers, Richard
    Settersten, a professor of human development and family sciences at
    Oregon State University, and Barbara Ray, president of Hired Pen, Inc.

    The longer path to adulthood strains families as well as institutions
    that have traditionally supported young Americans in making that
    transition — residential colleges and universities, community colleges,
    the military, and national service programs.

    "Only by continuing or increasing investments in young people after the
    age of 18 can policymakers implement the supports needed to make the
    road to adulthood less draining for families and less perilous for young
    people," Settersten said.

    Possibly even more disconcerting is their finding that unlike 1910,
    today's young adults are being supported financially by their parents,
    instead of helping to support their parents as they might have in the
    early 20th century.

    Their research, which includes decade-long work by Settersten as part of
    the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood, is detailed
    in the journal Transition to Adulthood.

    Generation basics

    The mid-1900s, considered the baby boom, is often used as a comparison
    for judging young people today. But Settersten and Ray suggest that
    generation is an anomaly. Supporting this idea, past research has shown
    differences between the GenX-ers (born between 1965 and 1981) and baby
    boomers, such as differences in work attitude.

    In the post-World War II baby boom, high-paying industrial jobs were
    plentiful, and a prosperous economy meant workers with little education
    could find secure employment with decent wages and benefits. The
    researchers found that since then, downward trends in wages and economic
    opportunities have been directly linked to young people staying at home
    longer, returning home later, and postponing or even forgoing marriage
    and children.

    That same delay described young people in the early decades of the 1900s
    who were slow to leave their family homes and start families. Becoming
    an adult then, as now, was a gradual process characterized by
    "semi-autonomy," with young people waiting until they were
    self-sufficient to set up their own households, marry and have children.

    "Having an income that's adequate to support oneself and a family — or
    at least the ability to earn one — has always been a precursor to living
    independently and taking on adult roles, such as marrying and settling
    down," Settersten said.

    Highlights from the research

    •In 2005, even before the current recession, roughly three in 10 white
    men (up to age 34) with a high school degree were not in school, in the
    military or at work. More than half of young black men were not in
    school, in the military or at work.
    •Even those with an education weren't as likely as their counterparts in
    the 1960s and 1970s to get a good-paying job. Young men (25-34 years
    old) with a high school degree or less earned about $4,000 less in 2002
    than in 1975 (with earnings adjusted for inflation). Men with some
    college education earned about $3,500 a year less in 2002 than in 1975.
    •Every age group, except those with graduate-level college education,
    had greater amounts of people earning below poverty level in 2002 than
    in 1975.
    •In 1969, only about 10 percent of men in their early 30s had wages that
    were below poverty level. By 2004, that proportion had more than
    Parents shoulder burden

    Though the researchers found similarities between today's young adults
    and their grandparents, there were also differences. For instance, young
    people today don't contribute to the household as they once did.
    Instead, parents shoulder the burden of launching their children into

    "Parents are now being called on to provide financial and other kinds of
    assistance to their young adult children," Ray said. "A century ago,
    the opposite was true. Then, young adults often helped their parents
    when they went to work and especially if they still lived together."

    They found parents spend some 10 percent of their annual income to help
    their adult children, regardless of their income level. "And that's a
    whole lot of money for some kids to get — and for many parents to give,
    or to afford," Settersten said.

    Despite today's "adults" staying with mom and dad longer, they do
    venture out and spend years living independently from parents during
    early adulthood, Settersten noted. And the percentages of people who
    have never married and who are intentionally childless are also higher
    now than at any other time in American history.

    "Today, the young adult years are filled up with many different kinds of
    living arrangements, some of which more often involve parents," he
    said. "But what is perhaps more significant is the fact that these
    arrangements don't as often involve spouses.

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      Current date/time is Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:31 am