Era of immaturity? Nearly half of Americans don’t feel like an adult until they’re 30

YouTube video

Is 18 really when adulthood begins? New survey reveals that two-thirds of Americans say it’s just an ‘arbitrary age’

NEW YORK — Only half of Americans felt like an “adult” when they turned 18 — for those who didn’t, it took until just before they hit 30!

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans found adulting takes some time. While 53 percent felt like an adult when they hit 18, many say it took until they turned 29 for adulthood to truly sink in.

That might be one of the reasons why two-thirds of respondents believe 18 is an “arbitrary age” at which to consider someone an adult. Results found 59 percent still don’t always feel like an adult — and 79 percent of respondents agree that being an adult is more about actions than age.

Signs you’re adulting

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Avocado Green Brands, the survey delved into the different actions that have helped respondents to feel like an adult. Topping the list was living on their own (30%) for the first time, followed by buying a house (28%) and getting married (27%).

Rounding out the top five adult-like actions are opening their own bank account (27%) and having kids (26%). However, less traditional milestones also made the list, including a quarter of respondents who think doing their own taxes made them feel like an adult. The same number selected paying for their own phone plan.

Interestingly, both voting and buying “real” furniture feels like an “adult thing” for 25 percent of respondents. About a fifth felt like more of a grown-up after purchasing and wearing business casual clothes (19%) and after they started consistently watching the evening news (18%).

Does going green make you more of an adult?

Environmental actions also made the list — 17 percent think caring about the environment made them feel more mature, while the same number say shopping at places that offset their shipping costs contributed to that feeling.

“Feeling like an adult doesn’t come down to a single action or feeling,” says Avocado Green Brands Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Mark Abrials in a statement. “It’s the broader understanding that we’re part of a larger ecosystem — and that it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, the community around us, and the planet that we depend on every day.”

Seventy-one percent of respondents add that, as they’ve gotten older, they’ve started to care more about the environment. This might be why 69 percent of respondents work to take environmentally-friendly actions in their day-to-day life.

It’s no surprise that two-thirds of respondents feel being an adult connects to how well they care for the environment. Furthermore, 71 percent believe adults have a responsibility to care for and protect the environment.

“Being an adult means being responsible for our actions,” Abrials says. “And that includes understanding — and mitigating — the environmental impact of our choices.”


Follow on Google News

About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer


  1. Working with millennials before my retirement, we may want to raise that maturity age to 40.

  2. Back when 18 year olds were drafted into the military in the 60’s and 70’s most agreed that was the age of maturity. However things have changed and many don’t leave their parents house before 30. It needs to be raised to at least 21.

    1. Then so should the voting age. Immature people incapable of taking care of themselves should not be allowed to vote.

      1. Raising the voting age would result in a greater percentage of Republicans.

    2. Or we could re-institute the draft and make more 18 year olds grow up fast by bringing them into the military. Everyone is so enthusiastic about going to war with Russia over their invasion of Ukraine so why not start drafting again.

    3. I was 17 when I signed my contract with the Army (my parents had to co-sign.) I was in the advanced ROTC program and commissioned as a 2nd Lt. at age 19 in 1981. Times have indeed changed since then.

  3. I day I joined the USMC I became an adult and that thought has never changed in 50 years.

    Thing are very different and I feel sorry for anyone at home after she 18, except for those with mental or physical challenges.

    1. Semper Fi! Truth my brother. I hope this mean we don’t have to listen to the silly 29 year old children dribble on about how unfair the world is…

    2. Thank you for acknowledging those with mental and physical challenges. That was very classy. We can’t expect everyone to achieve independence at the same pace.

      It’s frustrating and embarrassing to feel stuck and helpless at my age. I’m hoping medication and therapy will get my brain functioning in a way that I can better pursue my goals of independent living. For me the goal isn’t about a specific age, but the hard fought achievement itself. I want adulthood as much as anyone and even though I’ve failed thus far, I’m not giving up. I’m willing to try things that scare me, things that most people don’t need to thrive. I’m willing to work 7 days a week. My hope is people will look deeper than the superficial and see someone serious who has struggled a lot, but never gave up and eventually overcame his challenges. Better late than never.

  4. Why no mention of the obvious reason and that’s the brain development. The prefrontal lobes are fully developed after the age of 26. It’s the source of judgment, that is needed to operate, as an adult.

    1. Exactly. It is specifically this that the politicians (Guess which party) exploit those so easily to exploit and manipulate those that are under 20. And would like to see the voting age lowered to 16.

  5. Curious to know the percentage of reistered voters who are under 21 years old .
    Perhaps show by dem + Rep + independent/not-decided !

  6. That’s what happens when you have easy times and are coddled. Easy times make weak people. We need to purge all this everyone get a trophy and don’t hurt their feeling. Hardships make you grow up.

  7. I have never felt like 18 is old enough to vote. 18-year-olds have nothing in the game, they don’t pay taxes, they don’t generally work for a living. They don’t have enough life experiences to determine What the direction of the country should be.

  8. We have a society of young people who haven’t experienced anything like 9/11. When I was 19 years old I felt like an adult after I deployed to Iraq for the first time.

  9. paying all your own bills, living up to obligations(contracts you signed, children you create, accidents and other things you are responsible for creating). making sure you take care of all the things you do (we called it carrying your own water). once you are no burden to any other person and take care of your children and their costs. you can be an adult. if at any point you are not a net tax payer and instead a net tax consumer, you are not an adult. if at any point you think you are owed something by society , you are not an adult. if at any point you depend on others (parents, government, any other person or entity beside the person in the mirror ) , you are not an adult. if you are not willing to take the blame for your actions, you are not an adult. the list goes on, but that’s the gist.

  10. 18 is an arbitrary number that was once deemed a reasonable age at which people should be held accountable as adults. There’s no magic to it. I do believe in consistency though. As others have said, if a person is old enough to vote or join the military, they are old enough to be held to the other responsibilities and duties of adulthood as well as enjoy the privileges. As stated above, the brain is not fully developed until 26 or thereabouts. Fine. No voting until 26. No military service until 26. No gender changing decisions until 26. No buying alcohol or weed until 26. No tattoos until 26. I don’t see how it makes sense to provide the privileges of adulthood if the responsibilities are not met also.

    Maybe a better solution would be to give a test rather than base adulthood on an age. Sort of like a driving test to get a license. Prove you can do it, and then you get the privilege of having society recognize it. If you can’t or won’t take care of yourself, you fail the test. Unfortunately, I suspect there would be an awful lot of 45 year old children because they couldn’t pass an objective test of adulthood.

  11. I see accountability isn’t listed. That’s the main difference between adults and children. Accountability for your actions and/or decisions. Children still blame other people for their plight in life. It’s because <insert different age, gender, race, sexual orientation, political party, etc., etc.) wouldn't let me do .

  12. Nobody is an adult. We’re all blind fools, with limited intelligence.

  13. I feel that now days, 18 is way to young for people to vote. They are greatly immature. They can or could still be drafted, as thats prime fighting age, but vote? And drink? Legal drinking age should be raised to 30.

  14. The human brain does not reach full development until 25, so 18 is a completely arbitrary number.

    As far as the list, a lot of those things are economically constrained and only regionally obtainable goals. Buying homes, having kids, not needing to live with a roommate or family member are not equally achievable standards throughout the country. There are many hardworking single adults who rent and share costs of living. And no they’re not all far Left liberals with student loan debt.

  15. I say as young as 5 or 6 should be an adult according g to some people. If they can decide to change their biological sex at that age then they should definitely be able to drink, smoke cigarettes, have intercourse, fight for our nation, and last but not least VOTE! SMFH

  16. Odd that you would censor my comment. Then what’s the point, if you are scared of particular points of view?

  17. Any specific age set for being an “adult” will be arbitrary. The process of maturing is a continuous one, not something that happens in discrete steps.

    If we are born with “unalienable rights” which are “endowed” by God (or some higher power above and beyond that of government), then they can’t suddenly kick in at a government-specified age, can they? I’ve always felt there was a fundamental contradiction there that deserved to be addressed, but rarely if ever is.

    But in the founding era of the U.S. (late 18th century), legal adulthood came at 21, not 18. Yet it was commonplace for many people to leave home to start their own lives well before even 18. More apparent contradiction.

  18. This is the reality; adolescence doesn’t really end until 30, it’s always been this way. Let’s all wake up and connect with who we really are and humans develop. Why do you think your parents were a mess in their 20s and made so many mistakes?

Comments are closed.