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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Economic Improvements for Young Adults Not Translating into Living On One's Own

The Pew Research Center issued a late-July report entitled "More Millennials Living With Family Despite Improved Job Market" (link).

The report notes that, "unemployment among 18- to 34-year-olds peaked at 12.4% in 2010. As of the first third of 2015, unemployment among young adults in this age group was 7.7%, nearly 40% below the peak."

Yet, living independently, which Pew defines as "heading one's own household or living in a household headed by a spouse, unmarried partner or other non-relative," has not risen in tandem with the improving news on the jobs front. In fact, living independently has declined somewhat. In 2007, just before the Great Recession, 71% of 18-34 year-olds lived independently, whereas only 67% currently do. (Analyses exclude 18-24 year-old full-time college students.)

Living in one's parents' home has increased from 22% of 18-34 year-olds in 2007 to 26% in 2015.

Another interesting finding, characterized in the report as a "silver lining," is that college enrollment rose during the Great Recession. The report notes that, "College-educated young adults have been quicker to regain the ground they lost in terms of job-holding and wages. But this hasn’t led them to venture out on their own and establish their own households."

If the economy continues to improve, it is possible that large numbers of young adults who have been living with family will finally move out and live independently. Alternatively, there may be no "great move-out." In that event, expanded household size (also known as "accordion families") may be a long-term phenomenon.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Book Review: Twenty-Something: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?

I'm pleased to review the book Twenty-Something: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck? by the mother-daughter journalist pair of Robin Marantz Henig and Samantha Henig (respectively). I'm pretty sure I received my 2013 paperback version of the book as a complimentary copy from the publisher, given my teaching and research in this area, and I let the book sit for a long time (I'm chronically way behind on books I'm planning to read). I'm glad I got around to Twenty-Something, though.

Some readers of this blog may recall the splashy 2010 New York Times Magazine article on the transition to adulthood, featuring extensive interviews with Jeff Arnett and other researchers (link here). I did not initially make the connection, but Robin was also the author of that Times piece. Twenty-Something represents her attempt, with Samantha brought on board, to provide a book-length treatment of what she had started researching for the Times. Samantha, as a mid-late twenty-something during the book's writing, provides an insider's perspective.

Examples are all around us of young people taking their time to get married and establish a career, moving back home with their parents, and, in some cases, just floundering in general. There also seems to be a fairly widespread belief that such delays and other elements of today's young-adult life are totally new, uncharted territory. Some things, such as social media and Internet dating, unquestionably are new, but that doesn't mean everything is.

What sets this book apart from others on emerging adulthood is its systematic questioning of whether today's extended journey to adulthood is really as unprecedented as it's sometimes made out to be. Other than some authors pointing out that the post-World War II era in the U.S. was notable for its unusually young ages of first marriage,* thus accentuating today's marriage delay, there does not seem to be much critical examination of how new today's emerging-adult lifestyle really is.

Across the domains of education, careers, marriage, childbearing, health-risk behaviors, friendship, and parent-adult child relations, Henig and Henig compare today's young adults (specifically Millennials, who they define as being born between 1980-1990) to the Baby Boomer generation at the same ages. Each domain-specific chapter features a section marshaling arguments for "Now is New," another section making the case for "Same as it Ever Was," and a concluding section in which the authors declare a winner. Not to give away too much, but each side wins some of the time.

In drawing their conclusions, the authors draw both from published academic research and their own snowball survey of Robin's and Sam's friends and associates. The authors' collaborative writing style is also interesting. One of the two (usually Robin) took the lead in writing a given chapter, with the other inserting her own comments (set apart in italics). On the whole, Twenty-Something is informative and entertaining, and I highly recommend it.


*Amato, P. R. (2011). Transitions and sequences: Early family formation among women in emerging adulthood. In F. D. Fincham & M. Cui (Eds.), Romantic relationships in emerging adulthood (pp. 27–43). New York: Cambridge University Press.