March 13, 2012

When Does Adulthood Begin in this Economy?

67%

About two-thirds (67%) of parents say their children should have to become financially independent by the age of 22, down significantly from the 80% of parents who held that view in 1993.

One possible byproduct of the economic challenges today’s young adults face may be shifting societal norms about when adulthood begins. When asked what age children should be financially independent from their parents in a 1993 survey, 80% of parents said children should be self-reliant by age 22. In a survey conducted in December 2011, only 67% of parents (with children age 16 or under) say their children have to be financially independent by age 22.

Among all adults, regardless of parental status, a clear age pattern emerges.. A solid majority of young adults (66%) believe children should be financially independent by age 22 (including 23% who say they should be supporting themselves by age 18. By contrast, among those ages 50 and older, only 44% say children should be financially independent by age 22; a narrow majority (53%) don’t think financial independence is mandatory until age 25 or older. On this issue, adults ages 35 to 49 are closer aligned to their their younger counterparts than to adults ages 50 and older. Read More