Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now

"Long Road to Adulthood" - Upper Intermediate Level Reading

Average: 4.1 (14 votes)

I found this article about a change in our understanding of the term 'adult' extremely interesting and therefore decided to make a lesson from it. I have given you some key terms and vocabulary to help you with your understanding as well as some true or false questions.

Read the full article at New York Times Long Road to Adulthood Is Growing Even Longer

Today's lesson is by Caroline

Link: Read Caroline's Letter (Reading Lesson)



Key Terms and Vocabulary:

Baby boomers - children who were born between 1940 and 1960.
'a profound shift' - a big change in direction.
Milestones - a significant event or stage in a persons life.
Prerequisites - things that are needed and necessary.
Bizarre - very strange

Baby boomers have long been considered the generation that did not want to grow up, perpetual adolescents even as they become eligible for Social Security. Now, a growing body of research shows that the real Peter Pans are not the boomers, but the generations that have followed. For many, by choice or circumstance, independence no longer begins at 21.

From the Obama administration's new rule that allows children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' health insurance to the large increase in the number of women older than 35 who have become first-time mothers, social scientists say young adulthood has undergone a profound shift.
People between 20 and 34 are taking longer to finish their educations, establish themselves in careers, marry, have children and become financially independent, said Frank F. Furstenberg, who leads the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood, a team of scholars who have been studying this transformation.

"A new period of life is emerging in which young people are no longer adolescents but not yet adults," Mr. Furstenberg said.
National surveys reveal that an overwhelming majority of Americans, including younger adults, agree that between 20 and 22, people should be finished with school, working and living on their own. But in practice many people in their 20s and early 30s have not yet reached these traditional milestones.
Marriage and parenthood — once seen as prerequisites for adulthood — are now viewed more as lifestyle choices, according to a new report released by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

The stretched-out walk to independence is rooted in social and economic shifts that started in the 1970s, including a change from a manufacturing to a service-based economy that sent many more people to college, and the women’s movement, which opened up educational and professional opportunities.
Women account for more than half of college students and nearly half of the work force, which in turn has delayed motherhood and marriage.
Dr. Dora Hughes, 39, married last year and is pregnant with her first child. Dr. Hughes, who works for the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, said she did not finish her education until she was 30, and so had always expected to marry later on in life. Most of her friends from college waited until their late 20s or 30s to marry as well, she said.

Dr. Hughes, who grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn., said, "My parents got married when they were 24, and my mother always said she thought marriage was hard work and thought it was better for women to wait till their 30s."

"That probably did have an influence," she added, since her mother always encouraged her to get an education and have a career.
For the first time, a majority of mothers, 54 percent, have a college education, up from 41 percent in 1990. "That is a huge change," said Andrew J. Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

For many, marriage has disappeared as a definition of traditional adulthood, as more and more younger people live together. Today 40 percent of births are to unmarried mothers, an increase from 28 percent in 1990.

At the same time, more women are remaining childless, either by choice or circumstance. Twenty percent of women in their 40s do not have children, Mr. Furstenberg said, pointing out that "not having children would have been considered bizarre or tragic in the '50s; now it's a lifestyle choice."
More schooling has meant that children have to rely on financial support from their parents. Adults between 18 and 34 received an average of $38,000 in cash and two years' worth of full-time labor from their parents, or about 10 percent of their income, according to the MacArthur network.

More people in their 20s are also living with their parents. About one-fourth of 25-year-old white men lived at home in 2007 — before the latest recession — compared with one-fifth in 2000 and less than one-eighth in 1970.

Decide if the following statements are true or false.

  • 1.Obama considers those under 26 'children' who can remain on their parent's health insurance.



  • 2.Most Americans believe that those aged between 22 and 24 should still be studying.



  • 3.Marriage and parenthood are still considered necessary by most people.



  • 4.More than 50% of college students in America are women.



  • 5.Dr Hugh's mother thinks women should continue to marry in their early twenties.



  • 6.Almost half of the children born in America today are born to unmarried women.