A new report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the federal Administration on Children and Families summarizes years of existing research on a transition to adulthood framework that is increasingly popular in federal programming. The framework is a sequence of key adolescent and young adult milestones that when achieved in a specific order are understood to improve chances of achieving middle class status in adulthood. Among these milestones are high school graduation, full-time employment, and delaying parenthood until after marriage. The Mathematica researchers who authored the report conclude that the three milestones are indeed associated with adulthood economic outcomes—and with each other—but note that evidence confirming causal pathways and the importance of the specific graduation-workpost-marital-childbearing sequencing is not robust. #olderyouth
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