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Sequences of Early Adult Transitions

Sequences of Early Adult Transitions

A Look at Variability and Consequences

(p.256) Chapter 8 Sequences of Early Adult Transitions
On the Frontier of Adulthood
Ted Mouw
University of Chicago Press

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is “demographically dense” in that it involves a number of significant demographic transitions: leaving home, finishing school, starting work, marriage, and childbearing. The evidence suggests that over the first half of the twentieth century the transition to adulthood became more age stratified and occurred over a shorter period of time. Recent evidence, however, suggests that since 1970 it has taken birth cohorts longer to achieve these demographic markers of adulthood. Using longitudinal data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), this chapter explores how many different pathways to adulthood there are and whether the transition has become less structured over time. It asks whether adult transitions can be characterized by diverse pathways and is “disordered” compared to some normative sequence of events, and whether the different pathways affect adult outcomes.

Keywords:   adolescence, adulthood, adult transitions, demographic transitions, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, adult outcomes, marriage, childbearing

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