Quarter of Americans don’t feel like adults until they’re nearly 30!

NEW YORK — A century ago, the average woman was married by 21 in the U.S., while men were getting hitched before turning 25. These days, it seems like the idea of settling down is far from the minds of our young America. According to a new survey, one in four Americans don’t even “feel like adults” until they hit their late 20s. The poll of 2,000 adults shows another 6% admit it took them until their mid-30s before they began to feel like grownups.

The stunning results seem odd considering most people enjoy tasks that one might consider part of “adulting.” These include shopping for groceries (65%), balancing their budget (62%), doing dishes (60%), laundry (57%), and vacuuming (56%). 

Results get even more bizarre: 91% say they’d be afraid to admit to others that adulting is actually kind of fun. When examining generational differences, Gen Z (people born between mid-1990s and early 2010s) was the most scared to admit they like vacuuming (62%), while millennials (those born circa 1981 to mid-1990s) guilty pleasure is doing dishes (40%). Gen X (adults born between the mid-1960s and 1980) has a deep appreciation for grocery shopping (44%).

We don’t really know what this means, but the survey results note that baby boomers hate to admit that they enjoy doing boring tasks (43%).

Median age at first marriage: 1890 to present.
Median age at first marriage: 1890 to present. (Credit: U.S. Census Bureau)

Admit it: Cleaning up is the best part of ‘adulting’

Commissioned by LG Electronics and conducted by OnePoll, the results find the average person does these boring, adulting tasks that they enjoy eight times per week. Meanwhile, 67% get bothered when the things they get excited about are seen as “boring” by other people.

Three-quarters (74%) say cleaning their home is one such enjoyable task — 77% even claimed cleaning was therapeutic for them. Eighty-three percent say it’s “satisfying” when they’ve finished cleaning their home, and that they often feel a sense of happiness (24%), calmness (23%), and accomplishment (21%).

The most satisfying rooms to clean? Results show the living room (24%), kitchen (21%) and dining room (18%) top the list.

Infographics about adulting tasks people enjoy

“So many people misunderstand ‘adulting’ tasks as ‘boring’ tasks,” says spokesperson Josie Salazar, director of brand marketing – living at LG Electronics, in a statement. “But we’re finding the opposite is true — people enjoy taking care of the small things in their lives. Even a simple task, like vacuuming, can leave a person feeling a sense of satisfaction and clarity. The physical feeling of a clean floor can cause people to gain an appreciation for things that make the mundane parts of our routines enjoyable and convenient.”

The poll also finds Americans get excited when they shop for items that are a part of their “boring” adulting tasks. Many get excited to buy new appliances (58%), dishes and silverware (47%) and stationary (42%). A quarter (26%) take joy in shopping for a new vacuum.

Just over half (51%) said they’re likely to buy something “adult” for themselves this holiday season that others might see as boring. 

They also shared the boring gifts they’d love to receive: new appliances (52%), dishes and silverware (46%), stationary (40%), vacuums (35%), and groceries (32%).

“Having fun with ‘boring’ tasks is a trend we’re seeing gain traction this year,” continues Josie. “It will be very interesting to see how many will enjoy indulging in their favorite tasks this holiday season and into 2024.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by LG Electronics between October 24 and October 25, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).