By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
What makes a grown-up? Here are 5 milestones of adulthood
Adulthood is much more than graduating from high school and having a job. In fact, adulthood might actually be out of reach for many people coming of age today, a new study shows. - photo by Shelby Slade
Adulthood is much more than graduating from high school and having a job. In fact, adulthood might actually be out of reach for many people coming of age today, a new study shows.

According to a new study by Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, the achievements that typically make someone an adult are job stability, home ownership, financial planning and having a family, the Atlantic reported.

Forty-five percent of people interviewed agreed having a job that is part of a long-term career makes someone an adult rather than just having a full-time job, according to the Atlantic.

The study also showed that 34 percent of people felt getting married and 21 percent of people thought having children showed you were a full-fledged adult.

With such high standards for adulthood, it seems like it will take the millennial generation much longer than it should to become adults. However, some blame things like student loan debt and the difficult economic situation for making it even harder to transition into full-fledged adulthood.

Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal said 78 percent of adults agree that it is harder for the generation coming of age now to get started in life than it was for previous generations.

On the one hand, many agreed that the computer and communications revolution was creating new opportunities for younger people, Brownstein wrote. On the other, there was equal consensus that getting ahead financially has grown tougher and almost always requires a postsecondary degree that imposes its own economic stresses with student debt.

These three lists from Buzzfeed have a combined set of 119 ways to know when you have become an adult. They rarely focus on economic milestones, but on having realistic expectations and being responsible.

For example, you are an adult when candles and socks make you happy, you are tired all the time, you enjoy paying bills on time and you call your parents just to catch up, according to Buzzfeed.

Jennifer L. Tanner wrote for Psychology Today that while 18 and 21 are big years in our society, there is no set year or criteria for what makes someone an adult.

Whether this is a distinct stage or not, we do know that recent generations are entering into these years with little guidance and few resources compared to those available to them as youth, and there are few institutions, policies, or programs designed to meet their distinct needs, Tanner said.

Despite all these things standing in the way of the shining gates of adulthood, millennials still feel like they have a bright future ahead of them, Brownstein reported. Fifty percent said they felt like they had more opportunity to get ahead in life than their parents did.

"I was the first person in my family to even graduate from high school, much less go to college and get a postgraduate degree," teacher Sherri Hinnant told Brownstein. "It was expected for women to get married right out of school. Nowadays, that pressure isn't put on kids. They can do what they want to do; they're not expected to fit into a cookie-cutter mold."
Sign up for our E-Newsletters