Migration During Emerging Adulthood


Dr. Anastasia Snyder, Department of Human Development and Family Science
Rank at time of award: Associate Professor  



Early adulthood is considered a critical period of human development when the most salient life course experiences related to status attainment occur (Arnett, 2000). For today’s youth the transitions to adulthood does not occur as a linear sequence of related events, but rather as the intersection of life course events that are jointly experienced (2005 Osgood, Ruth, Eccles, Jacobs & Barber 2005; Sandefur, Eggerling-Boeck & Park 2005). To study this process, researchers have drawn upon large national data sets of American youth to examine the transition to adulthood and factors that either facilitate or limit educational and occupational attainment (Osgood et al. 2005; Sandefur et al.). What is notable in these studies, however, is the absence of migration behaviors as components of the attainment process. It is important to consider how migration events are part of the transition to adulthood because for some, migration may be necessary to achieve educational, career or family goals, and for others, constraints on migration may limit their status attainment. Thus, migration behaviors may be a critical and overlooked component of the early adult development process that requires further study. Migration behaviors may be especially important for youth from rural areas and for more recent compared to earlier cohorts of American youth. Thus, there remains a critical need to closely examine migration behaviors, and how these intersect with other life course events in early adulthood if we are to understand the evolving transition to adulthood and the implications for future status attainment.

The long term goal of this research is to determine how migration behaviors are part of the transition to adulthood for young adults, and how they intersect with other key life course outcomes in early adulthood such as educational andcareer attainment and family formation, and across the life course. Preliminary studies suggest that the timing of migration events corresponds to other important events in early adulthood. The objective of this research is to specifically examine the intersection between migration behaviors and education, career and famil formation events in a current cohort of American youth, paying attention to variations between recent and earlier cohorts, and also young adults from different residential areas. The rationale for this study is that migration behavior may be an overlooked and critical component of early adult development and the status attainment process, and that opportunities for or constraints to migration can have implications for other key young adult outcomes. 

Publications resulting from this seed grant:

2015. Jang, B. & Snyder, A.   Moving and union formation in the transition to adulthood in the United States.  Advances in Life Course Research. Vol 23, p. 44-55. PMCID: PMC4455549 

2015. Sandberg-Thoma, S, Snyder, A.R. & Jang, B.  Exiting from and Returning to the Parental Home for Boomerang Kids.  Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(3):  806-818. PMCID: PMC4442107 

2015. Sznajder-Murry, B., Jang, B., Slesnick, N. and Snyder, A.R.  Longitudinal Predictors of Homelessness:  Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-97.  Journal of Youth Studies, 18(8):  1015-1034. PMCID: PMC5074054

2014. Jang, B, Casterline, J, & Snyder, A.R.  Migration and Marriage: Modeling the Joint Process.  Demographic Research, 30, 1339-1366. PMCID: PMC4866818