The Transition to Adulthood During the Twentieth Century

Elizabeth Fussell and Frank F. Furstenberg Jr.

in On the Frontier of Adulthood

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780226748894
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226748924 | DOI:
The Transition to Adulthood During the Twentieth Century

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This chapter offers a broad overview of the experience of youth from 1900 up to the present. It describes changes in the experience of young people between the ages of sixteen and thirty who lived between 1900 and 2000, distinguishing between men and women, native-born and foreign-born individuals, and native-born whites and blacks. It relates changes in the combinations of adult statuses that average young people in these groups experience both to historical events and to structural and cultural change. Using U.S. census data, the chapter identifies the ways in which the transition to adulthood has become more complex in the latter half of the twentieth century but also the greater similarity among gender, race, and nativity groups in the way in which the transition to adulthood is experienced in terms of sociodemographic status combinations. As more young people, regardless of gender, race, or nativity, participate in secondary education through their teens, young people leave home at later ages. Furthermore, the norms surrounding the appropriate age for marriage and childbearing have changed radically over the century.

Keywords: young people; adulthood; race; nativity; gender; twentieth century; secondary education; marriage; childbearing; sociodemographic status

Chapter.  15964 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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