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

industrial jobs were plentiful, and a prosperous economy enabled workers with high school degrees (or less) and college degrees alike to find secure employment with decent wages and benefits. Since then, downward trends in wages and economic opportunities can be directly linked to young people staying at home longer, returning home later, and postponing or even forgoing marriage and children.

"Having an income that's adequate to support oneself and a family or at least the ability to earn one has always been a precursor to living independently and taking on adult roles, such as marrying and settling down," he said.

Some key facts from their article include:

  • In 2005, even before the current recession, roughly three in 10 white men (up to age 34) with a high school degree were not in school, in the military or at work. For young black men, the numbers were even higher: More than half were not in school, in the military or at work.
  • Even those who do get an education are not as likely as their counterparts in the 1960s and 1970s to get a good paying job. Young men (25-34 years) with a high school degree or less earned about $4,000 less in 2002 than in 1975 (with earnings adjusted for inflation). Men with some college also lost ground, earning about $3,500 a year less in 2002 than in 1975.
  • Every single group, except those with graduate-level college education, had greater amounts of people earning below poverty level in 2002 than in 1975.
  • In 1969, only about 10 percent of men in their early thirties had wages that were below poverty level. By 2004, the share had more than doubled. Overall, the share of young adults in 2005 living in poverty was higher than the national average.

There are also many differences between now and the early decades of the last century, of course, which Settersten and Ray illustrate. One of the biggest differences is that young people today don't contribute to the ho
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Contact: Rick Settersten
richard.settersten@oregonstate.edu
541-737-8902
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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