Young Adults Are Reaching Key Life Milestones Later Than in the Past

They many never leave!

According to new data, young adults are reaching key life milestones later than they did 40 years ago!

Adults who are 21 are less likely than their predecessors four decades ago to have reached five frequently cited milestones of adulthood: having a full-time job, being financially independent, living on their own, getting married and having a child. 

By the time they are 25, however, today’s young adults are somewhat closer to their predecessors in 1980 on two of these milestones: having a full-time job and financial independence.

The data shows that as of 2021, only 39% of 21-year-olds were working full-time, compared with 64% in 1980.

And only a quarter of people this age in 2021 were financially independent of their parents – meaning that their income was at least 150% of the poverty line – compared with 42% in 1980.

Around half of 21-year-olds (51%) were living somewhere other than their parents’ home in 2021, whereas the same was true for 62% of people their age in 1980. 

And only 6% of 21-year-olds had ever been married or had a child in their household in 2021, compared with 32% and 18%, respectively, of their predecessors in 1980.