Turning 30 May be the New Adulthood
It is traditionally the age we step into adulthood. But researchers have claimed that 30 is the new 21 – because we are maturing later. The landmark 21st is now seen as little more than an excuse to have a great party – before keeping the fun going for at least the next nine years. The study, conducted by researchers at Melbourne’s Brotherhood of St Laurence charity, carried out from the time babies were born in two Melbourne suburbs in 1990, found that only 38 per cent of them believed they had reached maturity by the age of 21. Another 13 per cent were adamant that they were not adults when their 21st birthday came around. The remaining 49 per cent couldn’t decide.
Ms Janet Taylor, a senior researcher with the charity, said that some of the young people were keen on adulthood, their independence and maturity, while others admitted they were not ready when their 21st year arrived. ‘For some, the fact they were earning independent money and making their own decisions made them feel adult and for some they liked that they didn’t have to take adult responsibilities yet,’ she told Melbourne’s Herald-Sun. ‘A lot who are studying are also working part-time jobs, so there is a mixture of independence and dependence.’ Surprisingly, 72 per cent of the 140 people in the survey were still living at home.
The research, which followed the group of growing children every seven years, was presented to the Australian Institute of Family Studies conference. “I think the age marker no longer has some of the relevance it did,” said Miss Taylor. “But on the other hand, turning 18 is very important for young people. It’s when you can drink or get a driver’s license and some of the young people indicated turning 21 wasn’t as big as turning 18,” she adds. The age of 30 is the new milestone of maturity, according to social researcher and psychologist Hugh Mackay.
The new generation of ‘kidadults’ spent more time studying, travelling and had more career choices. “Twenty one,” he said, “is an excuse for a party. Young people now approaching 30 regard that as the threshold to adulthood – 30 is the new 21.” The research findings have sparked a wave of discussions in Australia. “You never really become an adult until you are responsible for yourself,” said one woman writing to an online website. That means keeping a roof over your head, the bills paid and the stomach fed. But one woman said those who failed to accept adulthood and hung on to their parents for support were ‘selfish brats’.
Courtesy – dailymail.co.uk