Published Papers - Abstract 25

Bell S & Lee C. The diversity of emerging adulthood: Life transitions in a nationally representative sample of young Australian women. Population Studies, ; :

Emerging adulthood, the period of transition from adolescence to young adulthood, is characterized by multiple demographic transitions, and by enormous diversity. It is also when gender differences in adult life trajectories begin to emerge. This paper focuses on a nationally representative sample of young Australian women. Positions on four demographic variables (residential independence; employment; relationships; and parenthood), and transitions between two surveys four years apart, are described for 8,813 women, aged 18-23 at Survey 1 and 22-27 at Survey 2. The data show no “typical” patterns: at Survey 1, the largest group (single, childless students living with family) represented 18 per cent of respondents. At Survey 2, the largest group (single, childless workers living independently) represented 15 per cent. These findings provide evidence on the demographic diversity, and the extended period of emerging adulthood, which has become normative among young adults in Western cultures.