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On the Frontier of AdulthoodTheory, Research, and Public Policy$
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Richard A. Settersten Jr., Frank F. Furstenberg, and Ruben G. Rumbaut

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226748894

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226748924.001.0001

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American Women's Transition to Adulthood in Comparative Perspective

American Women's Transition to Adulthood in Comparative Perspective

(p.76) Chapter 3 American Women's Transition to Adulthood in Comparative Perspective
On the Frontier of Adulthood

Elizabeth Fussell

Anne H. Gauthier

University of Chicago Press

This chapter compares the timing and prevalence of transitions to independent living and family formation to determine whether young people are rejecting family formation and to ascertain how social structures that vary among a set of countries may be contributing to differences in the transition to adulthood. It describes the transition to adulthood for women in the United States and compares it with that of women in countries with contrasting social, economic, and policy contexts. It uses data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth and comparable data from the Family and Fertility Surveys carried out in Canada, Germany, Italy, and Sweden to illustrate differences in the timing of adult transitions and the degree of adherence to a “traditional” pattern of family formation between cohorts and nations. The chapter compares these cohorts in terms of the timing of their acquisition of family statuses (leaving the parental home, cohabitation, marriage, and childbearing), the prevalence of these transitions within cohorts, and the combinations of statuses acquired by a given age.

Keywords:   women, independent living, family formation, young people, social structures, United States, adulthood, adult transitions, cohabitation, marriage

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