Young adulthood, which follows adolescence and lasts to about age 39, is socially significant because during this time people are expected to get married. havec ildren, and get a job. People who do not fulfill these activties during young adulthood tend to be viewed negatively. Individuals who do not get married by age
39 are often quizzed by relatives and friends about their intentions and sometimes their sexual orientation. Those who do not have a first child by the time they reach the end of their thirties are likely to experience questions from others about whether they plan to become parents or not. Even more Significantly, those who are unable to find steady employment tend to become suspect because they have not “settled down” and “taken life seriously” or lire viewed as being “lazy and unwilling to work.” However, for some young adults, finding a job may be more difficult than for others.
As previously discussed, race/ethnicity and gender strongly influence people’s opportunities. For example,the sociologist William J. Wilson examined employment
opportunities available to young adults living in Chicago’s South Side and found that many who wanted to work could find no source of employment. According
to one 32-year-old woman in his study, There’s not enough jobs …. 111ere’s not enough factories, there’s not enough work. Most all the goodjobs are in the suburbs. Sometimes it’s hard for the people in the city to get to the suburbs, because verybody don’t own a car. Everybody don’t drive. (qtd. in . Wilson, 1996: 39) Problems such as the one described here have bec omeworse since the recent economic problems have left cities such as Chicago hard hit by the loss of factory jobs and a downturn in employment in the service sector. People who are unable to earn income and pay into Social Security or other retirement plans in earlyadult hood typically find themselves disadvantaged as they enter middle and late adult hood