Delaying Adulthood: 24 is the new 18.
27th Sep 2013 Posted in: YAYA Wire 9
Delaying Adulthood: 24 is the new 18.

By: Joseph Simmons, Analytics

Millennials are not growing up, well, at least not as fast as they would like.  As of 2013, 57 percent of these18-24-year-olds in the US are still living with their parents, and only 43 percent of them are employed, which is the smallest share since 1948.

Millennials are also waiting longer to get married.  According to Pew Social Trends, the median age for marriage is now higher than ever before for both men and women (28 and 26-years-old, respectively).  This is largely because the Youth and Young Adult market (YAYA) marriages are being delayed, as the rate for new marriages decreased 13 percent among 18-24-year-olds from 2009 to 2010.  marriage

So what is causing Millennials to delay their entry into adulthood and the workforce?  Education.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of full-time students enrolled in postsecondary education has dramatically increased every year for the last decade. From 2000 to 2010, full-time enrollment increased 45 percent.

To many, a college education is a necessity in America’s increasingly service-based economy. Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce expects that 65 percent of all U.S. jobs will require a college education by 2020.

Seventy percent of college students, and their families, believe that having a college degree is now more important than ever.  Jumping into adulthood right out of high school is no longer an option for these YAYA students, and they are choosing to head off to college instead.

At the same time, college is also getting more expensive, and in 2011 alone, the cost of attending a public university for one year increased 11.7 percent (14.7 percent for private universities).  For most YAYA students, this means one thing…debt.

Since 2005, the average student loan debt hasrisen 58 percent – from $17,233 to $27,253.  Meanwhile, the number of people with student loans has doubled, and on a national level, student debt has quadrupled sincedebt 2003 amounting to more than $1 trillion today.  Based off these staggering numbers, it’s no wonder more and more recent graduates are moving in with their parents while they find their financial footing.

However, it’s not all bad.  By delaying their entry into the working world in favor of higher education, we can look forward to a new generation of highly educated, and possibly financially responsible, YAYA workers.

What do you think? Does delaying adulthood hurt or help Millennials? Could it help society?


Marriage Graph Credit

Debt Graph Credit

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  • Megan Krtek

    I definitely agree with this article. I think the Millennial generation is the key generation to watch for fads and trends. We are the generation that knows most about new technology and products. If marketers realize this and successfully target our generation, they might just find how successful their products can become all because of this powerful generation spreading the word.

  • Cole Karr

    It’s great that Millennials are becoming more educated, however it is unfortunate that it is occurring in the way it is. We aren’t growing up because of the economic downturn and we aren’t growing up because we are still living with parents. Nonetheless, the marriage rate is being put off to pursue greater, grander opportunities. Give it time- we will rise to outpace the future generations. Now is the time for marketers to dig in and do the research to sculpt their future… and ours.

  • Thomas Bourneuf

    I like how you focused on the education aspect of these phenomena. Often times we hear about how millennials aren’t getting jobs for more negative reasons but now you have shown that this is a factor as well. Also, I like how you ended the story with questions for the readers to think about as they continue hearing about this topic. Something that you mentioned that I personally think about is how shopping patterns will change as all of these millennials get older.

  • Cathy Ann

    This was one of the topics that was covered at the Share.Live.Buy. conference and they agreed that education is the biggest reason Millennials have delayed adulthood. We are going to be the most educated generation every, however it was also discussed how future YAYAs will be much different. They are not as interested in staying in school let alone going to college, do you think this will effect the median age of marriage and the delay of adulthood? Will it shrink again?

    • Joe Simmons

      If the next generation opts for more expedient forms of education as you suggest (e.g. trade-schools, military), then I think the median age for marriage will go down, but not as far down as it was in the 20th century. While financial stability is (or should be) a requisite for someone to consider marriage, I think other factors like society’s changing views of marriage will keep marriage rates low among YAYAs for quite some time.

  • Claire Ridge

    I always find it fascinating that the average age of marriage continues to be older and older. My grandmother told me she was married by 19 and had her first kid at the age of 21. We aren’t even halfway through with college at that point! What do you think about the marriage age being later and how do you think this will impact future generations (i.e. finances, education, and health)?

    • Researcher

      increase in birth/mental defects

  • Christina

    There is one important factor not considered in this article. The fact is that 18-24 year olds are not intentionally trying to delay their entry into the work force. Many of us CANNOT secure any job after graduation, let alone one that will allow us to pay for rent AND student loans. This is all due to the economy and the fact that workers at the top are delaying their retirements so that there is less room at the bottom for entry-level workers.

  • tim

    Yes, this article overlooked the dire economic situation many 18-24s (and beyond) are in. Balancing student loan repayments, with rent, groceries, etc. is increasing impossible for many college graduates. This is the biggest reason for the delaying of adulthood. We were told a college degree would allow us to enter the workforce, not work at bestbuy with a high school kid who doesn’t have a college degree.