Econ Quiz: Transition to Adulthood

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March 2024

It’s no secret that as children grow up they move in and out of stages of proclaimed independence. Seeking or receiving help from parents oscillates between being necessary when we are young, an embarrassment when we hit the pre-teens, and a true comfort when we become young adults. This econ quiz will delve into one of many facets of parental aid: financial.

Roughly 66% of young adults, ages 18-34, say their parents prepared them either a great deal or a fair amount to be an independent adult. Parents were significantly more likely to report this same sentiment, that they prepared their children either a great deal or a fair amount, with 86% reporting. That said, of adults under 30, less than half (45%) are completely financially independent from their parents, with 23% reporting they are “mostly” independent.

On the parenting side, 59% of parents reported giving financial aid to their children ages 18-34 at some point in the past 12 months, of which 36% said that providing help hurt their own personal financial situation. According to parent’s responses, the predominant category in which young adults get financial aid is for household expenses such as groceries, or utilities, closely followed by cellphone bills and subscriptions to streaming services.

Help from family members can go in both directions. To flip this quiz on its head, what percent of young adults say they helped their parents financially in the past year?

A. 12%

B. 25%

C. 33%

D. 40%

E. 49%


Answer: C. 1/3 of all young adult children report helping their parents financially in the past year with this percentage varying by income; 43% of young adults from lower income families, 28% from middle income families, and 19% from upper income families report helping their parents financially at some point in the past year.

Financial help and independence in young adulthood. Pew Research Center. (2024, January 24).

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