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Adulthood delayed for twentysomethings? Add to ...

You may think of the 20s as the time when you buy your first home, get married or launch a career. But for twentysomethings today, young adulthood means unpaid internships, moving back into their childhood bedroom and making withdrawals from the Bank of Mom and Dad.

A new report from the U.S.-based Pew Research Center confirms that adulthood is beginning later than it used to. Close to one-quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds have moved back in with their parents, 35 per cent are heading back to school and nearly one-quarter have taken unpaid work opportunities to gain experience.

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Forty years ago, almost half of the 22-year-olds in Canada were married and one-quarter had children. Only 25 per cent were still in school. By 2001, half of 22-year-olds were students, about one in five were married or living with a romantic partner, and less than 10 per cent were parents.

“The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain untethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, travelling, avoiding commitments … forestalling the beginning of adult life,” according to The New York Times Magazine.

It’s not that young adults don’t want to be independent, but they’ve been hit hard by the recession. Almost one-third want to get married or have a baby now but are putting it off for financial reasons. Half are working a job that doesn’t appeal to them in order to pay the bills, the Pew Research Center reports.

And while an earlier generation of parents might have cut off their children financially upon graduation, those today could find themselves footing the bill for their kids well into their 20s. While 80 per cent of parents surveyed in 1993 thought their children should be financially independent by 22, nearly one-third of adults today say kids shouldn’t be cut off until they’re 25 or even older.

According to Statistics Canada, “it takes today’s young adults longer to achieve their independence: They are leaving school later, staying longer in their parents’ home, entering the labour market later, and postponing conjugal unions and childbearing.”

Do you think twentysomethings need to hurry and grow up? What’s the right age to move out of a parental home, get married or start paying your own bills?

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