Thursday, March 21, 2019

Pew Report Compares Millenials to Earlier Generations

The Pew Research Center, a little over a month ago, released a report entitled "Millennial Life: How Young Adulthood Today Compares with Prior Generations" (LINK). The report defines Millennials as those born from 1981-1996, making them 22-37 at the time of the analyses (2018). The researchers then compared Millennials to members of three prior generations (X, Baby Boom, and Silent) when members of those generations were likewise 22-37.*

Millennials are more educated and less likely to be married than their earlier-generation counterparts. The report also looks at employment, earnings, living with one's parents, and voting. One of the more interesting graphs, in my view, shows that whereas marriage rates within each pre-Millennial generation did not vary much by education (e.g., in the Silent Generation, subgroups with different educational attainment all fell within 81-86% being married), there were wide educational differences in marriage among the Millennials. Fifty-three percent of Millenials with a Bachelor's degree or higher were married, compared to 44% of those with some college and 40% of high school graduates.

This report is a must-read for those interested in the demographic characteristics of today's young adults.

*Some of the analyses compared 25-37 year-olds, presumably as a result of different data sets having responses from different age groups available.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Politico Series on Cities with Large Populations of Millennials

The Washington, DC-based Politico magazine recently had an article on cities for Millennials (which the article defined as those born from 1981-1997). To identify these cities, the authors devised a formula that rated cities on factors such as the share of adults in a city who are 25-34, percent of 25-34 year-olds with college degrees, and issues related to cities' economic growth and suitability to walking and using public transportation, the latter "a well documented preference among millennials."

The result is this list of millennial-aligned cities. Note, however, that many of these cities have features that are not necessarily millennial-friendly, such as sky-high rental and housing costs (e.g., San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, and Seattle). On the page with the list, you should see a small circle in the lower-right of the screen, by which it says "TOGGLE." Clicking on the circle will bring up a set of demographic features, with which you can tailor a set of characteristics to your liking, by sliding the bars for more or less of a certain feature. When you do this, the city rankings will automatically be recalculated to fit your needs.

The article notes that, "the cities that millennials are adopting and transforming tend to be as racially and ethnically diverse as millennials themselves. Two-thirds of the top 50 cities are majority-minority..." Two central features of Emerging Adulthood are exploration and new experiences. Diverse cities will allow young adults to meet people with different backgrounds. To the extent the local job-market is strong, these young adults can also explore different possible lines of work. However, if someone moves to a totally new city, the one safety-net that makes a lot of this exploration possible -- the parental home to which one can boomerang -- won't be there.

Monday, September 25, 2017

NY Times Marriage Article Alludes to Emerging-Adulthood Themes

Today's New York Times article, "How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege?", while focusing on marriage-rate differences by socioeconomic class, also incorporates discussion of the transition to adulthood. A couple of key paragraphs from the article are as follows:

Americans across the income spectrum still highly value marriage, sociologists have found. But while it used to be a marker of adulthood, now it is something more wait to do until the other pieces of adulthood are in place — especially financial stability. For people with less education and lower earnings, that might never happen. 

College graduates are more likely to plot their lives methodically — vetting people they date until they’re sure they want to move in with them, and using birth control to delay childbirth until their careers are underway.

Indeed, as Jeff Arnett showed in a 2001 Journal of Adult Development article, only around 13% of midwestern U.S. respondents considered getting married as something that was necessary for adulthood (this figure did not differ much by respondent age). The other portions of the description, about planning and vetting, fit a standard description of emerging adulthood.

Like marriage, emerging adulthood is also linked to SES. As Katherine Newman (2012) notes in her book The Accordion Family, the better-off a family, the more capable it is of supporting emerging-adult pursuits such as unpaid internships. Some of the ideas given in the Times article for facilitating marriage among those less well-off, such as affordable housing for young adults, would also likely provide a stable base for emerging-adulthood-type exploration in the areas of work and romantic relationships.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chicago School System Aims to Expedite Graduates' Career Planning

According to this Vox article:

Chicago Public Schools has a new requirement for its 435,000 students: To graduate, they must prove they have a post-graduation plan. That means a college acceptance letter, a job offer, military orders, or enrollment in a job training program.

In many observers' view, emerging adulthood best serves as a time of intentional exploration, in which individuals contemplate and try out different educational and career pathways, en route to finding ones that embody their "true selves." This period of life, however, can also involve what some would consider unproductive use of time (e.g., heavy drinking, excessive media usage) and floundering.

Chicago's plan can be seen as an attempt to direct more students toward a purposeful trajectory. Vox quotes an important point from city school official Janice Jackson: “In schools with high levels of support, every child was already walking out with a postsecondary plan... There are schools where we need to push a little bit more.”

College attendance is not simply a matter of skills and motivation. Financial considerations and what many teens consider an intimidating process of applying to college and for financial aid, also can determine whether a student ends up at a university. Chicago is seeking to combine its new graduation requirement with extra counselors and other resources to help students find their way.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Detailed Analyses of Rent Assistance Emerging Adults Receive From Parents

The New York Times's "Upshot" quantitative analysis crew delves into the amount of rent assistance individuals in their early 20s receive from their parents. The article includes comparisons by where the grown children are living and the type of career they are pursuing.

Naturally, parents give more assistance when their children are living in big cities. Also, "Those in the art and design fields get the most help, an average of $3,600 a year... [Whereas] some jobs in science, technology, engineering, management and law have clearer and more substantial payoffs after years of internships and postgraduate training, ... pay in art, design and education is low in the early years, and for some people, it remains low."

These findings remind me a little of Richard Florida's ideas regarding cities as magnets for individuals in the "creative class."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Living with Parents Now Most Common Status for 18-34 Year-Olds

The Pew Research Center has just released a report, announcing that "In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household" (link). When social scientists analyze large data sets -- in this case, several rounds of the once-a-decade U.S. Census plus recent versions of the American Community Survey -- it can take a few years for all the data to be processed and analyzed.

The 2014 breakdown of young adults' living arrangements, according to Pew, were as follows:

  • 32.1% living with parents
  • 31.6% living with spouse/partner
  • 22% living in miscellaneous arrangements, such as with grandparents, siblings, or in a college dormitory
  • 14% living alone (or as a single parent) or with roommates.

The overall trend is largely driven by men. By a margin of 35-28%, men in 2014 were more likely to live with parents than with a spouse/partner. In women, living in a marital/cohabiting relationship still exceeded residing with parents (35-29%).

Also, college-educated individuals are an exception to the trend. Young adults with a bachelor's degree were far more likely to be married or cohabiting (46%) than living with parents (19%). The 46% of college grads married or cohabiting in 2014, however, is a come-down from previous decades; in 1960, approximately 70% of college grads were married or cohabiting (mostly married, in all probability).

(Thanks to AZ for originally posting the link on Facebook.)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Prof's Tips for College Students Raise Emerging Adulthood Themes

Columbia University professor Christopher Blattman has just published a piece entitled "10 things not enough kids know before going to college" (link). In my estimation, four of Blattman's tips involve themes associated with emerging adulthood.

Three pieces of advice -- No. 1 "Try careers on for size," No. 7 "Go to places that are unfamiliar to you," and No. 10 "Blow your mind" (challenging your own beliefs and opinions by reading a diverse set of sources) -- pertain to the identity-exploration aspect of EA.

Another facet of EA is the sense of open possibilities, that one can successfully pursue any of a number of career or other life goals. Of course, twenty-somethings often learn the hard way that their aspirations ultimately weren't realistic. Blattman's fifth suggestion seeks to aid college students in maximizing their prospects: "[C]hoose the path that keeps the most doors open."