Millennial Alert: Adulthood Is Now 24
With millennials living with their parents longer than any generation in 50 years, scientist decided to try and reassess what the actual age of adulthood is in our modern western society.
Adolescence has been considered between and the ages of 10 and 19, which is significant because it is the beginning of puberty and in most cases the end of biological growth. Up until now, the consensus has been that 20 years of age is the first 'true' year of adulthood.
But Scientists from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne argue the ages needs to be changed. They point to the fact that the brain continues to mature beyond the age of 20, and many people’s wisdom teeth do not come through until the age of 25. They also think societal changes are a factor with people getting married and having children later. And the increase is significant, with the average man entering their first marriage aged 32.5 and women 30.6, an increase of eight years since the 1970s.
The lead author Prof Susan Sawyer may have political motives for her research, but makes the argument that delays in young people leaving education, settling down and becoming parents, showed adolescence was now longer period of time. She argued that policies that support young people should be extended beyond teenage years.
Countries such as New Zealand already treat children who have been in care as vulnerable until they are 25, allowing them the same rights as youngsters. “Age definitions are always arbitrary,” she said, but “our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted.”
“The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays.”
When pressed Prof. Sawyer admitted that there could be downsides, particularly if youngsters were no longer seen as responsible or capable of full engagement in society until they were 24. “Such a view would risk disenfranchising adolescents” she added. What this information could really mean is that the growth of a generation might be 'stunted'.