A Cohort Comparison of Life Course Transitions among Young Adults in the United States

Bohyun Joy Jang, Ohio State University
Anastasia R. Snyder, Ohio State University

Transition to adulthood has delayed and become less standardized across cohorts and generational gaps in the transitions have grown. Few studies, however, have accounted for dynamic association between timing and sequences of multiple life-course events. Using comparable datasets from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and 1997, we compare the sequence of 4 life events (education, full-time employment, marriage, and childbirth) during transition to adulthood between two birth cohorts. We use distance measure obtained via optimal matching to cluster similar sequences together in both cohorts. In addition, we will examine how the different pathways influence personal incomes at age 30. Preliminary findings suggest that the life course sequences are more diverse for those from the NLSY79 than their counterparts from the NLSY97. However, only 12% of the NLSY97 sample has completed all of the four life transitions by age 30 while about 28% of the NLSY79 have completed.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods