Structural Advantages, Personal Capacities, and Young Adult Functioning during the Great Recession

Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas at Austin
Chelsea Smith, University of Texas at Austin

Past research has demonstrated that severe economic downturns can have a major impact on the life course, and the Great Recession is unlikely to be an exception. Informed by life course theory, we describe how the transition into adulthood may have been sped up or slowed down by the Great Recession and how these effects may have varied according to family backgrounds and psychological/behavioral capacities. Historical comparisons of multiple cohorts of young adults in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth—Young Adult cohort revealed some evidence that the Great Recession slowed down school enrollment, labor force entry, partnering, and becoming a parent among 18-25 year olds. The prevalence was especially low in the supposed recovery year of 2010, and school enrollment was the least affected status. This slow-down was more age group-specific for family roles. Variation by family background and psychological/behavioral factors was minimal.

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Presented in Session 185: Transitions to Adulthood