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."

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Huffington Post/YouGov Survey on "Helicopter" Parenting

The Huffington Post recently teamed up with online polling firm YouGov to survey U.S. adults on the performance and receipt of "helicopter" parenting behaviors. Results are reported here, with the article containing links to additional study details. (For some of the measures of assistance-receipt, results focus on individuals 33 years-old and younger, rather than the full adult population.)

As the article discusses, it is hard to define helicopter parenting with precision, as after all, " person’s loving guidance is another person’s overbearing supervision." One marker the article offers is "whether a parent does something for a child that is developmentally inappropriate." For example, by intervening when their child has made a mistake in a relatively low-stakes situation, are parents depriving the child of an opportunity to learn from the consequences? Are parents providing financial assistance only for their child's basic needs or for everything, including entertainment? Asking about different kinds of parenting, and their consequences for grown children, should help refine our understanding of optimal parental involvement.

To learn about some studies I have conducted in this area, see this page.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Millennials and the "Gig Economy"

The online publication Working Capital Review has a new article out on Millennials and the "gig" or freelancing economy, along with an associated report. Rather than work at a traditional 9:00-to-5:00 job, in other words, one can work as an independent contractor, for however many hours a week one wants to work, provided one can find customers for the particular service provided. The WCR article provides some basic background information:

According to the study, the explosion in the number of American freelancers is due to the expansion of the internet and social networking in connecting people with projects. Not surprisingly, the area of greatest growth amongst freelancers lies with Millennials. Many of these people have spent their entire working lives as freelancers. Thirty-eight percent of Millennials are freelancing compared with 32 percent of workers older than 35. What’s more, the Great Recession wiped out the notion that a traditional job was secure, the study says. “This growth demand and wage potential – not to mention the freedom that comes with freelancing – has many more Americans thinking about making the jump.” 

In my view, the features young people say they want in a job (e.g., flexible hours and working conditions; ability to express one's personal identity), combined with their technological savvy, make these findings totally unsurprising. The article sounds a note of caution for Millennials, however, namely that freelancing doesn't provide benefits (e.g., health, retirement) that frequently are part of traditional jobs. Freelancers would thus have to set some of their earnings aside to acquire these benefits.