Wednesday, June 27, 2007

National Survey of 17-29 Year-Olds

Today's New York Times reports the results of a national survey of 17-29 year-olds, conducted by the Times along with CBS News and MTV. As I've noted before in conjunction with NY Times articles, free full-text access may disappear after a few days, so if you're at a university or other library that subscribes to Lexis/Nexis, that may be the best way to access the article in the long term.

Headlined "New Poll Finds That Young Americans Are Leaning Left," the article focuses on political opinions and presidential candidate preferences for 2008. One of the more interesting findings, in my view, was the following:

By any measure, the poll suggests that young Americans are anything but apathetic about the presidential election. Fifty-eight percent said they were paying attention to the campaign. By contrast, at this point in the 2004 presidential campaign, 35 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said they were paying a lot or some attention to the campaign.

A supplemental PDF document listing all the questions and the response frequencies for each question's possible choices also provides a nice snapshot of the emerging adult population of the U.S., beyond political preferences.

For example, 22% of respondents were married, 73% never-married, and the rest divorced or separated. Thirty-one percent of the sample reported having children. In terms of highest educational level yet achieved, the sample was virtually evenly split between high school diploma or less, and at least some college.

In response to a question about networking websites such as MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook, 56% of participants reported having their own page, 15% had only visited such pages, and 30% had not visited any.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tattoo Removal as a Reflection of EA and Transition to Adulthood

An interesting article on tattoo removal has just come out in the New York Times, entitled "Erasing Tattoos, Out of Regret or Simply to Get a Fresh Canvas" (by Natasha Singer, June 17, 2007). I'm not sure how long the article link will work, but those of you at universities that subscribe to Lexis/Nexis may be able to access the article that way in the future, via the citation I've provided.

Nowhere in the article does the team "emerging adulthood" appear. However, based on some of the age statistics cited and the comments of people interviewed for the article, EA-relevant themes appear to lurk beneath the surface. Here's one passage, for example:

Most of Dr. Tattoff’s [not the name of a real doctor, but rather of a tattoo-removal service] clients are women ages 25 to 35, said James Morel, the chief executive of the company, which has given more than 13,000 tattoo laser treatments since opening here in 2004. “Maybe women are getting more tattoos than they used to,” Mr. Morel said, “or maybe they just have a higher level of tattoo regret than men.”

Aside from the gender aspect, the 25-35 age-range dovetails well with when the exploratory/experimentation-oriented years of emerging adulthood should be ending and more "serious" pursuits are being undertaken.

A quote from tattoo-removal client David Donch of New Jersey reinforces that theme:

Mr. Donch said the treatments felt like rubber bands being snapped against his skin but that it was worth it. “As I am getting older and planning to start a family and get my teaching certificate, I am more aware that appearances are important,” Mr. Donch said.