Popular Posts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Defining the Quarterlife Crisis

Over the next year, from 24 to 25, many changes occurred- of which I will delve into shortly…but before I do that, I wanted to confirm that I am not completely crazy and that there were statistics to support this idea that a quarterlife crisis does exist. In my hunt for sanity and peace-of-mind, I stumbled across a few interesting statistics:

The following are documented statistics. Some of these statistics can be found in Amanda Robbins's book, Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis: Advice From Twentysomethings Who Have Been There and Survived.

On Home:
  • 56.8% of men and 43.2% of women ages 22-31 live with their parents.
  • 64% of 20 to 24 year-old men and 52% of 20 to 24 year-old women live with their parents. These numbers have been steadily rising since 1981.
  • The number of young adults living at home has increased 50% since the 1970s.

On Work:

  • The average number of jobs a person has in his 20s has jumped to 8.6 jobs between the ages of 18 and 32.
  • In a university poll, the majority of seniors surveyed believed they will have their first significant job within 3 months of leaving school. Two-thirds of them believe they will remain at their first job between 1-5 years.

On Marriage:

  • The average age of marriage has shifted from 21 for women and 23 for men in 1970 to 25 for women and 27 for men.
  • In a major poll, 94% of never-married twentysomethings singles stated that their future spouse must be their soulmate; 87% believe they´ll find that person.
  • Before age 17, one in three of today´s twentysomethings saw their parents divorce.

On Finances:

  • We are the first generation not projected to do better financially than our parents.
  • More than 40% of college students graduate owing more than $20,000 in student loans. Among students graduating with doctoral degrees, more than 60% have more than $30,000 in student-loan debt. Overall, 39% of students with loans graduate with "unmanageable debt," meaning loan payments that are more than 8% percent of monthly income.

On School:

  • The number of bachelor's degrees awarded between 1987 and 1997 rose by 18 percent, the number of master's degrees by 45 percent and doctorates by 35 percent.
  • About 80% of 18-34 year-olds have a high school degree, 61% have attended college, and 20% have an education level of at least a four-year college degree.
  • Between 1960 and 2000, the percentage of Americans aged 20, 25, and 30 who were still enrolled in school more than doubled.
  • In a 2005 poll of young adults between 18 and 29, just 32% of those who attended college graduated by age 21.

On "Adulthood":

  • In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had achieved what are considered the traditional hallmarks of adulthood: leaving home, graduating school, becoming financially independent, marrying, and having a child. In 2000, those numbers dropped to 46 percent of women and 31 percent of men.
  • According to a poll, most Americans believe that "adulthood" begins at age 26. According to a poll specifically of college­educated Americans, being "grown-up" begins at 28 or 29.
  • In 2000, there were 67 million Americans between 18 and 34.
  • In 2003, there were 37.4 million Americans between 20 and 29.


  • 41% of 20-29-year-olds say they feel significantly pressured or "almost more stress than they can bear."
  • Approximately 10% of U.S. college students have been diagnosed with depression, the National Mental Health Association says. Suicide has become the third-leading cause of death for people aged 15-24, behind accidental deaths and homicide.
  • Approximately one-third of drivers in their 20s are on auto insurance policies paid for by someone at least 20 years older.

The argument can be made that these statistics point out a curious shift from past generations. So I leave you with the question- is it me or is it us? Is this a pandemic? Some Sociologists are now calling this period of introspection and self-discovery a "legitimate developmental stage". The funny thing is that I never remember my grandparents or even my parents mentioning this important stage in my development...is this a new phenomenon or have past generations kept this process a secret? I'm confident in stating that almost everyone has heard of a mid-life crisis, but what happened to a quarterlife crisis?

1 comment:

  1. Here is another interesting bit of info... Alexa came home the other day and told me that they were studying the brain in class and at age 26 the the two frontal lobes of your brain come together and that is the part of the brain where you make decisions... so you are a better decision maker at that point.
    I think the reason you haven't heard of this "quarter life crisis" before is because the generations before yours were already married with children by that time and didn't have the time to wonder what was going on... I think that is progress????