When do teenagers in the US become adults? At age 18 when you can vote & join the military? Or 21 when you can legally drink alcohol or 25 when you can finally rent a car? Some say it is your first day of college, or the day you finally become financially independent – whatever your opinion may be, it is clear that the threshold that marks where teenagedom ends and adulthood begins, is not clearly defined or consistent.
Generation Y is caught in a young adulthood limbo as rental markets are too competitive for new college graduates to move out of their parents houses and employment opportunities are significantly limited. According to The Atlantic, we are a lost group, delaying adulthood by postponing milestones like marriage and child-rearing, and the unluckiest generation. More young Americans are poor, unemployed, and live with their parents compared to Generation X and the Baby Boomer Generation. Young adults in the US are no longer dreaming of owning their own home with a white picket fence – the young adult American dream has now been reduced to the hope for a job – any job – and a somewhat affordable place to live. Young people in San Francisco are so desperate for housing that rooms like closets and living rooms are now being converted into shanty bedrooms – Dan pays $500 a month for a laundry room in the Mission district and is only one example of an increasingly common practice. (It’s quite routine to peruse housing listings on SF Craigslist and find postings describing upwards of 6 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Or conversely a studio apartment for one listed at $4,000 per month)
How can the United States be one of the richest countries in the world and yet have an entire generation of unemployed impoverished young people right now? What does this mean for young Americans and their transition to adulthood?