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Lower wages, lack of job opportunities means more Americans delaying 'adulthood'
Date:4/27/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. Despite living in an age of iPads and hybrid cars, young Americans are more like the young adults of the early 1900s than the baby boom generation: They are living at home longer, are financially insecure and are making lower wages.

Indeed, a new study points out that a 22-year-old of today might have much more in common with his or her grandfather or great-grandfather than their own parents, although the reasons for this prolonged journey to adulthood differ from Americans of 100 years ago. And one huge difference between 2010 and 1910: young people today are being supported financially by their parents, instead of helping to support their parents as they might have in the early 20th century.

The study, titled, "What's Going on with Young People Today? The Long and Twisting Path to Adulthood" was written by Richard Settersten, a professor of human development and family sciences at Oregon State University, and Barbara Ray, president of Hired Pen, Inc. Settersten has conducted much of his scientific research as part of the decade-long MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood.

The study was published in the journal Transition to Adulthood, a new publication from The Future of Children, a joint project between Princeton University and the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution think tank. The journal will be released this morning at a public event at Brookings.

The middle of the last century is often used as a comparison for judging young people today. But Settersten and Ray reveal that that the baby boom generation is an anomaly. Young people in the early decades of the 1900s were slow to leave their family homes and start families. Becoming an adult then, as now, was a gradual process characterized by "semi-autonomy," with young people waiting until they were self-sufficient to set up their own households, marry and have children.

In the post-World War II boom, high-paying
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Contact: Rick Settersten
richard.settersten@oregonstate.edu
541-737-8902
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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