Poor kids leaving home have fewer options

Young adults from poverty-stricken families face limited options when striking out on  their own, a new study says.

They are less likely to leave home, more likely to leave earlier when they do, and going away for college is not often an option, says a study in a recent issue of “Families in Society.”

“Over the past 20 years, changes in the age of marriage, educational attainment and employment opportunities have affected the nature of this distinct transitional
period of young adulthood,” the study says. “This period is difficult for low-income emerging adults to navigate as they are often forced to move into adult roles sooner and therefore have less opportunity to explore possible life directions.”

Examining data from the National Survey of Families and Households, the study says that young adults from households above the poverty line were twice as likely to
leave home.

Yet youth whose families had been on public assistance were more than twice as likely to leave home before age 18.

Fewer than half of young adults who are poor attend college, the study says, compared to almost two-thirds of those living above the poverty line.

Of those that did attend college, 52 percent of poor students did not leave home, compared to 30 percent of their wealthier peers.

Poor students also were more likely to attend community college, where none of the young adults from poor families in the study completed a bachelor’s degree. Twenty percent of their richer peers did.

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