Growing up is hard to do

Growing up is hard to do: Young people are extending their school years and delaying work and marriage, according to America’s Youth Transitions to Adulthood (pdf), an analysis of Americans 14 to 24 from the 1980s to 2010 by the National Center for Education Statistics.

In 1980, 16 percent of young adults ages 22 to 24 were enrolled in college compared to 30 percent in 2010, NCES found.

Fewer teen-agers hold jobs, notes Inside School Research.

From 1980 to 1999, 30 percent or more of 16- and 17-year-olds were employed at least part-time, but that percentage has been plummeting since 2000, and by 2009, only about 15 percent of teenagers in that age group had a job.

Only 49 percent of high school dropouts held a job in the year they left school, compared to 64 percent in 1980.

Educational expectations are higher:  “Among the poorest 25 percent of young people, only 11 percent of high school seniors in 2004 said they did not expect to complete high school, compared with more than a third of the poorest students in 1972.”


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  1. In 1980, it was relatively easy for teenagers to get jobs in food service, yard work, child care, and retail. The flood of immigrants in recent decades has made it quite a bit harder for today’s teens to get those jobs. Many of the places that hired high school students when I was that age now have a minimum worker age of 18. I can see why businesses do it (less red tape, greater reliability among the workers) but it has dramatically increased the teen unemployment rate.

  2. Walter E Wallis says:

    So they are going back to get the job training that they didn’t get with 4 years of daddy’s money? Pity.