The economy changed adulthood


Blue, Alexis. “Are Millennials Redefining Adulthood?” UANews, The University of Arizona, 28 July 2014,

This article provides Millennials’ opinions on their own coming-of-age. Blue provides statistics on what the young people would define themselves as. She also divides the Millennials into different categories, ones who share their parents’ values, and ones who do not.

This source is credible because it takes statistics directly from the University of Arizona’s study on Millennials. The author also provides a counterargument that Millennials may just be developing slower, but she combats it by stating that the generation is simply wary of mistakes the former generations made. Although there are many numerical statistics, the author maintains a casual tone that is also is not informal.

This article relates to “Becoming Adult: Meanings of Markers in Adulthood” because they both discuss how economic changes have made the current young people hesitant to buy houses and have children. I will incorporate this point into my argument and use it to prove that graduating college and beginning to pay off debt are the new determinants of becoming an adult.


DeSilver, Drew. “The Politics of American Generations: How age affects attitude and voting behavior.” PewResearchCenter, Pew Research Center, 9 July 2014,

This article discusses the different political typologies of different generations. It provides statistics that show that political views not only change as one ages, but they can also be steadfast between generations. It also breaks down the different typologies and how frequent they are within age groups.

This source is credible because it comes from the Pew Research Center. Also, there are many numerical statistics throughout the article. The author, DeSilver, also does a great job at ensuring that the facts remain professional yet are easy to understand for the average reader. This source’s argument is important because it shows that differences in the economy between each generation can have a large effect on how it’s people think.

I will use this source for statistics regarding the different economic status of each generation. It will support my argument that changes in the economy and societal norms can change the definition of adulthood. I’ll use this to argue that starting a family is no longer the norm, so the current definition of an adult is based on other factors like paying off such debt mentioned in the article. This article also connects with “Becoming Adult: Meanings of Markers in Adulthood” because they both discuss economic factors that affect becoming an adult.


Settersten, Richard, et al. “Becoming Adult: Meanings of Markers in Adulthood.” 2015,

This essay begins with the foundational research behind the transition into adulthood. It lists the social, biological, and psychological markers of adulthood. There is also a discussion on the discrepancy between legal definitions of adulthood and developmental milestones within the brain. There are also several statistics that compare rates of higher education between generations.

This source is reputable because it was written by two professors and a doctoral student at Oregon State. There are also brief descriptions of the academic backgrounds of the writers at the end of the essay. The authors further enforce their credibility by providing economic statistics regarding income levels, but they also establish a personal connection with the reader with their casual syntax.

My argument is benefitted by this source because it argues that socioeconomic differences have changed markers of adulthood, and therefore each generation’s definition of adulthood is not concrete. This source also builds on “The Politics of American Generations: How age affects attitude and voting behavior” because it compares the economy of former generations as opposed to now. This is important to my argument, because it states that a poor economy has caused markers of adulthood to change from familial roles to combatting loans and debt.



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4 Responses to The economy changed adulthood

  1. Christopher O'brien says:

    I really like that you already have a very good idea of what is going to go into your formal definition paper. You communicate very well what you are going to use each source for in your definition. I think it is interesting that you are using an economic approach to the definition of an adult. I had personally not thought to do that. In todays society, that does seem like the most logical and common factor to use. Because millennials are coming out of school and working not long after a major economic recession, millennials are, for the most part, very cautious. I think the priority for our generation is financial stability. This is why we do not see as many young people having children and starting families as early as older generations have. As I said before, I think you have a very firm grip on what you want your definition paper to be, so I commend you for that. Your economic approach has really opened up my eyes to look at all of the factors of why our generation is the way it is.

  2. Anna Pethel says:

    The plans you have for your paper are very clear: you will argue that the economy is a factor in the ‘delayed adulthood phenomenon’. Further, that this is not a positive concept for millennials because it welcomes criticism, unavoidable periods of setback, and fierce competition for a ‘simple’ or ‘normal’ life (like previous generations). The statistics in your sources will really reinforce your argument because the economy is made up of numbers and researched facts, so using those you cited will make your argument strong. It is hard to challenge a reliable statistic. Your topic is also very clean-cut and I think that your paper will an interesting read because of this. You could make your paper stand out by addressing counter-arguments. These may be hard to come by because arguing against the fact that today’s economy makes it hard to adult is not a common find; it seems like the counter-argument would be rather stubborn and critical of millennials instead of empathetical and intellectual, A.K.A. credible. But locating and addressing a credible counter-argument would add a major bonus to your paper that would make it super impressive!

  3. Shaan Patel says:

    It’s really cool how you talked about the economy, too because I am also focusing my paper on how the economy affected the millennials. A really good source to use would be this one: This source goes into depth about how the millennials really are affected by the recession and how this has made them become way more different than previous generations. It also talks about how competitive it is out there because of the economy. One major thing I saw in this article was how the pathway to the same job as your parent isn’t the same. Nowadays, the millennials have it way harder because the same path isn’t going to work. Just because a parent did this, this, and this to get a certain job doesn’t mean you can do the same things and be guaranteed a job. The whole economy related to aging thing is really interesting to consider, and the source is excellent for that.

  4. Bryce Matlock says:

    I really love the angle that you are taking in this formal definition paper. Viewing it as a economic problems was not something I thought of doing, and is a very interesting take on emerging as an adult. I agree with the fact that the economy changes with each generation. I saw this as well while conducting my research, because I defined emerging as an adult is the time when you move out of the house and become independent of your parents. However, there is a rising number of kids staying at home with their parents, following the 2008 recession. As you mentioned, this is because kids are afraid of starting a family and buying a house, which used to be factors in becoming an adult, because of the financial problems it may cause. One thing I would like to know is if economy does affect adulthood, how would you define when becoming an adult happens. The rise in economic problems has caused some huge stepping stones in the process of emerging as an adult to become a lot harder to achieve, so it is important to know when exactly do you become an adult in this day and age. I also love your second source, because Desilver was the author of one of my sources. His ability to give a multitude of statistics in facts in an easy to understand way is unbelievable.

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