But their numbers and their money supply were always relatively small. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive.
These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace.
Yes, at other points in Western history young people have waited well into their 20s to marry, and yes, office girls and bachelor lawyers have been working and finding amusement in cities for more than a century. What also makes pre-adulthood something new is its radical reversal of the sexual hierarchy. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs. Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children.Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.In the “knowledge economy,” good jobs go to those with degrees. Another factor in the lengthening of the road to adulthood is our increasingly labyrinthine labor market.The past decades’ economic expansion and the digital revolution have transformed the high-end labor market into a fierce competition for the most stimulating, creative and glamorous jobs. The knowledge economy gives the educated young an unprecedented opportunity to think about work in personal terms.
Between his lack of responsibilities and an entertainment media devoted to his every pleasure, today’s young man has no reason to grow up, says author Kay Hymowitz.