The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages

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The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages pdf




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The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 1
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages 18 to 24 in America By Susan Jekielek and Brett Brown Child Trends The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Population Reference Bureau, and Child Trends May 2005 POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU
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The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 2
KIDS COUNT KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by- state effort to track the status of children in the United States. By providing policymak- ers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. At the national level, the principal activity of the initiative is the publication of the annu- al KIDS COUNT Data Book, which uses the best available data to measure the educa- tional, social, economic, and physical well-being of children. The Foundation also funds a nationwide network of state-level KIDS COUNT projects that provide a more detailed community-by-community picture of the condition of children. Population Reference Bureau (PRB) Founded in 1929, the Population Reference Bureau is the leader in providing timely and objective information on U.S. and international population trends and their implications. PRB informs policymakers, educators, the media, and concerned citizens working in the public interest around the world through a broad range of activities, including publica- tions, information services, seminars and workshops, and technical support. Our efforts are supported by government contracts, foundation grants, individual and corporate con- tributions, and the sale of publications. PRB is governed by a Board of Trustees repre- senting diverse community and professional interests. Child Trends Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the lives of children by conducting research and providing science-based information to improve the decisions, programs, and policies that affect children and their families. In advancing its mission, Child Trends collects and analyzes data; conducts, synthesizes, and disseminates research; designs and evaluates programs; and develops and tests promising approaches to research in the field. Founded in 1979, Child Trends has achieved a reputation as one of the nation's leading sources of credible data and high- quality research on children. KIDS COUNT/PRB Reports on Census 2000 This paper is part of a series of reports on the 2000 Census prepared for the nationwide network of KIDS COUNT projects. These reports have been guided by the recommenda- tions of an expert advisory group of data users and child advocates brought together in a series of meetings by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Population Reference Bureau. Members of the advisory group have provided valuable assistance about how to interpret and use data from the 2000 Census. A list of the advisory group members can be found at the back of this report. For more information or for a pdf version of this report, visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT website at www.kidscount.org or PRB’s website at www.prb.org. © 2005 Annie E. Casey Foundation Material may be reproduced free of charge for classroom or noncommercial use, provided that full credit is given to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 3
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages 18 to 24 in America By Susan Jekielek and Brett Brown Child Trends The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Population Reference Bureau, and Child Trends May 2005
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 4
Executive Summary This report provides an overview of the status of young adults ages 18 to 24, with particular attention to outcomes associated with the transition to adulthood including citizenship, educational achievement, disconnectedness, employment, and military service, as well as measures of family and household formation. We present national and state-specific estimates from the 2000 Census, including separate estimates at the national level for population subgroups defined by gender, race and Hispanic origin, age, and immigration status. Selected results are highlighted below: In the year 2000, there were 27.1 million young adults ages 18 to 24 living in the United States, representing about 10 percent of the entire population. Over one-quarter of these young adults lived in just three states: California, New York, and Texas. Over 15 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 were reported to have some form of disability. The majority of young adults were white non-Hispanic only (62 percent), followed by Hispanic of any race (17 percent), black non-Hispanic only (14 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander only (4 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native only (less than 1 percent). Over 60 percent of all Asian/Pacific Islanders ages 18 to 24 were born outside the United States, as were 45 percent of Hispanics. Overall, 13 percent of all persons in this age group were born outside the United States, and most of these lack U.S. citizenship. State estimates of the percentage foreign-born range from 30 percent in California to less than 2 percent in Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia. i
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 5
Among young adults ages 21 to 24, 18 percent did not graduate from high school. One- third of those were also foreign born. Across the states, the percentage lacking a high school degree ranged from over 27 percent in Nevada to under 10 percent in Hawaii, North Dakota, and Vermont. In 2000, 14 percent of all young adults ages 18 to 24 were disconnected from productive activities, meaning they were not currently enrolled in school, employed, or in the military, and had no more than a high school diploma or GED. About one in four black non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and American Indians ages 18 to 24 were disconnected, compared with one in 10 white non-Hispanic young adults. a Among young adults who were connected, over 40 percent were connected through work only; about one-quarter (24 percent) through school only; about another quarter (28 percent) through work and school only; and less than 2 percent through military service. Less than 3 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 were receiving public assistance in 2000. Over one-half of all persons ages 18 to 24 were no longer living with parents or other relatives: 27 percent had formed their own households, and 24 percent were living in a household with nonrelatives (such as those living with roommates, with an unmarried partner, or in a college dorm). Rates of marriage among 18-to 24-year-olds vary substantially by state. Among young women, marriage rates ranged from a high of 34 percent in Arkansas to a low of 13 percent each in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. a Race-specific estimates refer to those identified with one race only. In addition, all race groups (white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaskan Native) presented in this paper exclude Hispanics of those races. ii
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 6
Rates of single motherhood among 18- to 24-year-old females are highest in the southern states, exceeding 13 percent in Louisiana and Mississippi. Several states (Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, and Vermont) had rates of 6 percent or less. iii
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 7
Introduction The transition to adulthood is a complex process in which youth who have been dependent on parents throughout childhood start taking definitive steps to achieve measures of financial, residential, and emotional independence, and to take on more adult roles as citizen, spouse, parent, and worker. This transition can be a period of growth and accomplishment, especially when youth have the resources they need to navigate this process, such as community connections and a stable family that can provide guidance and financial assistance if needed, and access to education and experiences that provide a foundation for learning, life skills, and credentials. The transition to adulthood can take place in different orders and over a wide range of ages from the teens through the mid- to late 20s and beyond, and most youth successfully make these transitions. 1 However, many youth experience setbacks early on by becoming parents too soon, dropping out of school, failing to find work, or getting in trouble with the legal system. These experiences not only make the transition to adulthood more difficult, but can also have long-lasting effects by compromising a youth’s potential to provide for himself or herself in adulthood, and by increasing the risk that a youth’s own offspring will experience the same negative outcomes. Given the link between young adult experiences and their potential to thrive in adulthood, we have chosen to focus this report on young adults ages 18 to 24. Using data from the 2000 Census, we provide a profile of these youth, including descriptive data on personal characteristics such as race, immigration, and disability status, as well as transition-related outcomes in the areas of education, family formation, employment, welfare receipt, and connection or disconnection from productive activities. We also present differences in these 1
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 8
outcomes for key sociodemographic groups (gender, race and Hispanic origin, age, and immigration status), as well as state-specific estimates for these outcomes. Race and Hispanic Origin In 2000, there were 27.1 million young adults ages 18 to 24 living in the United States, representing about 10 percent of the entire population. Over one-quarter of these young adults lived in just three states: California, New York, and Texas (see Figure 1 and State Table A). Figure 1 Distribution of Young Adults Ages 18 to 24 by Size of the Population, 2000 Source: Child Trends calculations of data from the Population Reference Bureau analysis of Census 2000 5-Percent Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS). The majority of young adults were white non-Hispanic only (62 percent), followed by Hispanic of any race (17 percent), black non-Hispanic only (14 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander only (4 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native only (less than 1 percent). Slightly over 2 2
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 9
percent of all young adults were identified with two or more races (not including Hispanic) (see Appendix Table 1). (Beginning in 2000, the Decennial Census allowed for the identification of respondents with more than one race. Throughout this paper all single-race groups reflect persons who were identified with only one race. The modifier “only” will be used in all tables and figures but not in subsequent text. In addition, all race groups (white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaskan Native) presented in this paper exclude Hispanics of those races.) The proportion of young adults who are Hispanic, which has been rising steadily for several decades, is expected to increase from 17 percent to 21 percent by 2015. 2 The racial and ethnic composition of young adults varies widely from state to state. For example, in California, New Mexico, and Texas, Hispanics accounted for between 40 percent and 48 percent of all persons ages 18 to 24, while in North Dakota, Maine, Mississippi, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia they accounted for less than 2 percent (see State Table A). Among Asian-Pacific Islanders, areas of concentration included Hawaii (42 percent) and California (12 percent). White non-Hispanic young adults were in the minority in four states and in the District of Columbia: Texas (44 percent); D.C. (37 percent); California and New Mexico (36 percent each); and Hawaii (21 percent) (see State Table A). Immigration and Citizenship Status More than 3.5 million young adults living in the United States in the year 2000 were born in another country—approximately 13 percent of all persons ages 18 to 24 (see Appendix Table 2). The geographic concentration of foreign-born young adults is substantial, with almost half living in just three states: California (1,002,177), Texas (387,087), and New York (379,534) (see Figure 2 and State Table B). There is also great variation across states in the proportion of young 3
The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages  - page 10
adults who are foreign-born. States with 20 percent or more foreign-born include California (30 percent), Nevada and New York (22 percent each), and New Jersey (20 percent). States with less than 2 percent foreign-born in this age group include Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia. Figure 2 Number of Young Adults Ages 18 to 24 Who Are Foreign Born, 2000 Source: Population Reference Bureau analysis of Census 2000 5-Percent Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS). Over 61 percent of all Asian/Pacific Islanders in this age group were foreign-born, followed by 45 percent of all Hispanics. This compares with 6 percent among black non- Hispanics, 2 percent among white non-Hispanics, and 1 percent among American Indian/Alaskan Natives. Nativity differs widely even within the narrow age group of 18-to-24-year-olds, with the youngest being the least likely to be foreign-born. For example, only 9.5 percent of 18-year-olds were foreign born in the United States in the year 2000, while 16.5 percent of 24-year-olds were foreign-born (see Appendix Table 2). This pattern suggests that many of the foreign-born young adults are recent immigrants who came to the United States as adults. 4
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