As an arm-chair scholar of adulthood, I like to collect facts and figures about the different phases of adulthood. Even though I've said before that I think the stages of life are defined less by a number than by a feeling, I still think it's worthwhile to examine what the data are telling us about a given cohort. (Most recently, I did this when I presented five new facts about teenagers.)
In that vein, today's topic is that much-discussed Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, young adults, under-30s or just "Gen Y." Gen Y is defined loosely by those people born between 1982 and 1991, which makes them (roughly) between the ages of 18 and 30.
About six months ago, The New York Times Magazine broke a feature story about the "new 20-somethings" who seem to be taking forever to grow up -- delaying marriage, changing careers several times, failing to achieve economic independence and other milestones of adulthood. Ever since then, there's been a lot of interest in this age group, both in what's driving their delayed adulthood and what else we know about this demographic.
Here are five new facts about Generation Y:
- Living at home longer may not be so bad. While one might be inclined at first blush to condemn Gen Y for failing to get its act together sooner, two new studies suggest that there may be advantages to delayed adulthood. One, from the University of Minnesota, argues that parental assistance in early adulthood actually promotes progress toward autonomy and self-reliance. The researchers found that while almost half of the young adults in their sample received either money for living expenses or lived with their parents (or both) in their mid-20s, only 10 to 15 percent received financial or housing help when in their early 30s. Moreover, as young adult children took on adult roles, such as earning higher incomes or forming families, parental support began to taper, regardless of age. Two sociologists from Oregon State additionally found that living at home longer may also foster closer bonds with one's parents.