What Are The Milestones Of Adulthood In 2017?

Posted on November 20, 2017 • Category: Young Talent


A new 2017 study from the U.S. Census describes the traditional milestones of adulthood and how they are changing. In the past, getting married and having children were the major milestones to adulthood because of the responsibilities that come with supporting a family (e.g., having a good job, providing housing, healthcare, etc.).

Today’s young adults, and their parents, feel differently about what it takes to be successful in the 2017 economy.

Milestones for Adulthood


Arizona data is available on all seven milestones that Americans are using to describe the steps to adulthood today. This brief looks at financial independence and compares Arizona’s young adults to the nation.

Milestones for Adulthood


The milestones to adulthood have changed dramatically over the last two decades. Understanding the change is important because growing and encouraging young talent is one of the eight goals identified by Arizonans as critical to achieving The Arizona We Want.

The decisions that young adults make about where to live now and as their careers develop will depend on the opportunities they see for upward mobility and the overall quality of life available to them.

Arizona’s future success will depend on:

  • How well we provide young people with education and skills.
  • How much opportunity we create for young adults to develop their careers over time.
  • How well we preserve and enhance the state’s superb quality of life.

The Arizona We Want is within reach.


8 in 10

Americans were married by the age of 30 in the 1970s. Today, 8 in 10 people are not married until the age of 45.
The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975 - 2016  

U.S. Department of Census, Economics and Statistics Administration, April 2017

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Lattie F. Coor

My Perspective

When CFA set out to build a citizens' agenda for Arizona, we didn't know it would end up placing Arizona at the center of a national struggle to address the challenges confronting democracy today–the growing lack of confidence that citizens have in government and their growing lack of participation in the civic life of our communities and nation.

In many ways, Arizona is a microcosm of these challenges. This fact was made clear in the results of the Gallup Arizona Poll (2009), which identified the deep concerns that Arizonans have about the need for both effective leaders and engaged citizens. CFA is now in the process of building Arizona Progress Meters for each of the 8 citizen goals defined by the people who live here. The culmination of these goals is The Arizona We Want.

The Arizona We Want is a long-term vision and it can be achieved if we work together.

Learn More about how CFA is activating the citizens' agenda for Arizona.

Citizen goals sit at the heart of all we do.