Converging Patterns to Emerging Adulthood? Australia and the U.S. in Comparative Perspective

Ann Evans, Australian National University

The transition to adulthood has become of increasing importance to researchers and policy makers alike as the period of transition from child to adult becomes longer. The transition period has been defined in many ways, however demographically it can be seen to encompass leaving school, entering the labor force, leaving the parental home, marriage and childbearing. One of the key arguments in recent times about this transition is the extent to which the changing structure of society has contributed to these transitions as becoming more individualized or more standardized. This paper uses data from the Australian Census of Population Housing between 1971 and 2001 to explore the extent of changes in the pattern of transition to adulthood in Australia. It is hypothesized that the transition to adulthood in Australia has similar characteristics to that found in the US.

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Presented in Session 36: Transitions from Adolescence to Adulthood