A recent study found that young people in Spain take six more years to reach adulthood compared to their counterparts 20 years earlier.My dad started college just before the beginning of WWII, and joined the Merchant Marine, and spent the war ferrying cargo around the world until after the war ended in the Pacific, and came home and finished college. I studied straight through, taking my time, getting married in 5th year of college. Our first child came after I was 30 and still in grad school. And the trend still continues:
Adulthood, in this sense, includes obtaining a full-time job, living on one's own and eventually having kids. The study, featured in the publication Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, found this six-year gap in both sexes, as women reached adult independence around 28 years of age rather than previous estimates of 22. Men ended up reaching independence at 30 rather than 24 years of age.
But what about young Americans?
Much discussion surrounds the whereabouts of 20-somethings at this time. Jeffrey Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University, leads a movement toward creating a new developmental stage called "emerging adulthood" that highlights the instability and uncertainty of the lives of people between the ages of 18 and 25.
One New York Times Magazine piece suggests that far fewer people finish their education, find jobs, live independently and have kids before the age of 30 compared to people 40 years ago. Both men and women are pushing back marriage an average of four years as well.