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."