August 10, 2012
Data point: Many Millennials feel less like adults than ‘emerging adults’
It was Gen X who started stretching out the period between adolescence and adulthood, and “emerging adulthood” is now a fact of life for many Millennials in America, as a new study from Clark University confirms. The professor behind the study, who coined the term for this new life stage, told USA Today that the key social forces behind it are later ages for career, marriage and kids. Consider that only a fifth of U.S. adults under age 30 are married, compared with 59 percent in 1960, according to the Pew Research Center. It doesn’t help that youth employment has “remained stubbornly high for a protracted period” since the recession.
More than half the 18-29-year-olds surveyed by Clark don’t quite feel that they’ve reached adulthood. Keeping one foot in adolescence appears to be anxiety-provoking for this cohort: 56 percent say they often feel anxious, and 1 in 3 often feel depressed. This is a life stage characterized by uncertainty and a lack of independence, with a third of respondents saying their parents are overly involved in their lives. A recent study from Ohio State University found that almost 1 in 4 Americans aged 20-34 were living with their parents during the recession.
Despite this, Millennials remain widely optimistic: 82 percent feel that “it still seems like anything is possible,” reflecting the positive, ambitious mindset of a group we’ve termed Generation Go.
Image credit: Janet Loehrke, USA Today