Why Are So Many People in Their 20s Taking So Long to Grow Up? : Under30CEO Why Are So Many People in Their 20s Taking So Long to Grow Up? : Under30CEO
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Why Are So Many People in Their 20s Taking So Long to Grow Up?

| August 31, 2010 | 11 Comments
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Photo: via NY Times

A study done recently showed that today’s generation is taking longer then ever to reach what traditionally is defined as adulthood. An article in the New York Times covered this study and tried to figure out why this generation is growing up so slowly.

The article shows some interesting facts ” The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.”

It then goes on to say “We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.”

Now it doesn’t say this is a bad thing, maybe it is more natural. But many people are trying to figure out why this is happening. I think it is pretty simple. Today’s generation has more options and realizes that there is a lot more to experience in life than the “five milestones of adulthood”. People simply desire more and have the ability to get more out of life. Research and travel is easier then ever to find new experiences, jobs and opportunities anywhere in the world.

I think this “changing timetable for adulthood” will lead to a happier and more fulfilled generation of people. A generation with few regrets and a million memories.

What do you think?

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  • http://www.ryanseitz.com Ry Seitz | Reading, PA

    Because some of us have the “entitlement” belief system. And when that changes as stagflation hits in the US my peers are going to have to 3x as work hard to catch up. Me? I decided at 22 to set unrealistic goals and then get realistic about achieving them. Ryan Seitz. 24 years old.


  • Anthony

    I think its a bit…..silly to say that being a grownup means you have to be married or have a child…. I know many who are and are some of the most childish people you’d meet. Maybe being a grownup should be examined from a more emotional and personality stand point and not from whether you’ve reached or met some social “benchmark”

  • Anonymous

    Although some will disagree I think by default once you are past 21 the final milestone all adolescents yearn for you’re an adult period…. I feel that’s the case at least in our society. Now the kind of adult you become now that’s a different story shaped by each person’s individual life experience and values not by reaching the 5 milestones mentioned.

  • Jimdoorzon

    i dont wanna grow up im a toys-r-us kid!

  • Morgan

    Yes, exactly. We have so many options available to use these days that it’s almost impossible to choose just ONE option like we’ve been taught to do. Most people that go through college end up hating their degree anyway. I love all the options we have and am glad that I live in an age where I’m not necessarily pressured to pick one thing and one thing only. It’s fun to try different things and enjoy life! Eventually I’ll grow up, but for now, I’m just livin’.

  • Stephaniebushman

    don’t forget that the culture surrounding the new 20somethings is changing too-financial independence and having a child are too expensive with such a poor economy and post college debt

  • Anonymous

    People have kids later, so people don’t have any real responsibility. People don’t have some great, wonderful desire for a better life than previous generations, we just have kids later and therefore have less responsibility or need to become an “adult” as early as previous generations.

    In the long run this will be a much less happy generation of people because the following generation is going to be so much smaller that the social tools that run on new generations pumping tax dollars in won’t be able to work. We’ll all think back on these times with regret, I think, that we selfishly drove our culture into the toilet.

    There are times where this blog is so smug and self righteous there are times it is hard to take. The only thing special about our generation is it is not sowing seeds for long term success.

  • http://businessbeware.biz/ Ashley

    Great article. I think it’s a lot of things…It’s expensive to raise kids especially in this economy, people are waiting to get married because we have so much we want to experience before we make that commitment and settle down (or most do). Many of us are driven where we have our goals and what we want to accomplish that we are not focused on marriage and starting a family in the early 20′s like it use to be. I think it just depends too though if you find someone that is exactly like you and has the same goals you may not want to let them get away either though so you go ahead and move forward. Many people these days don’t even get out of school til their mid 20′s as it is so once they get out they are ready to jump in the fast lane of things. I think a lot of people want to be established as well before they settle down and start a family and there is nothing wrong with that at all, it’s smart actually.

  • Usama

    Well, its up to parents to provide them information in their desired field. Then its up to the kid to avail it or not.



  • KERA