America’s Youth: Transitions to Adulthood compares the current generation of youth and young adults in the United States to youth and young adults in 2000, 1990, and 1980. Data for the report came from NCES and other federal surveys.
According to this new NCES report, the youth of 2011 are different than their peers in 1980, 1990, and 2000 in many aspects – they have greater education and less labor force participation, they have delayed the establishment of their own families, and they have higher expectations for their future.
Other findings include:
• In 2010, there were 47.1 million youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 in the United States, compared with 46.2 million in 1980. While the number of youth and young adults increased by 0.9 million since 1980, their percentage of the U.S. population declined from 20 to 15 percent.
• For young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, the current generation is enrolled in school at higher rates than their predecessors in 1980. In 2009, some 69 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds were enrolled in school, compared with 46 percent in 1980. In addition, about 52 percent of 20- and 21-year-olds were enrolled in school in 2009, compared with 31 percent in 1980, and 30 percent of 22- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in school in 2009, compared with 16 percent in 1980.
• In 1980, about 86 percent of young adult males, ages 20 to 24, were in the labor force, compared to 69 percent of young adult females. By 2010, some 75 percent of young adult males and 68 percent of young adult females were in the labor force.
• Between 1980 and 2010, the percentage of persons ages 20 to 24 who were householders (i.e., those who owned or rented their own house) or the spouses of householders decreased from 38 to 19 percent. For females in this age range, the decrease was from 47 to 25 percent between these years; for males, the decrease was from 28 to 13 percent.