Reaching Adulthood: Persistent Beliefs about the Importance and Timing of Adult Milestones. By: Cepa, Kennan; Furstenberg, Frank F. Journal of Family Issues. Jan2021, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p27-57. 31p.

Since 2000, transition to adulthood behaviors changed across gender and social class. Yet it is unclear whether these changes reflect a corresponding shift in beliefs. In particular, widening inequality and changes to higher education may differentially alter the opportunities available to young adults across gender and socioeconomic status, potentially changing attitudes about entering adulthood. Using the General Social Survey’s 2002 and 2012 waves, this paper explores beliefs about the importance and timing of six adult milestones, completing education, becoming financially independent, working full-time, living independently, getting married, and having children, across age, gender, and social class. We find that similarities in beliefs across gender and age groups persisted. In contrast, even though Americans from different social class backgrounds report similar beliefs about milestone importance, we continue to find social class differences in timing beliefs. Our findings highlight the continued need for institutional supports for disadvantaged youth moving towards adulthood.