Teen dating trends

Teens can move more slowly toward adulthood, Twenge and Park argue, because, on average, they are in “resource-rich environments.” For example, parents have fewer children than they did in the past, and so they can invest more in each one.Greater life expectancy is also associated with a slower path toward activities associated with adulthood, as is greater income.

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New analyses of 40 years of data (1976-2016) show that the percentage of 12th graders who have ever gone on a date has never been lower.

A quarter century of data on teenage sex (1990-2016) indicate that the percentage of students in the 9th through 12th grades who have ever had sex has also reached a low point.

No article on teen dating would be complete without mentioning the quintessential teenage dream: prom.

The prom has been around for a long time, but in the fifties, it was a bit different.

The percentages for the subsequent years are below.

Notice that percentages decrease consistently over time.

Nowadays, it does not matter who asks first, but back then it was very different. If a girl asked for a date, her peers generally thought poorly of her.

Couples in the fifties were not able to text or Facebook message each other like couples today.

The bigger picture The notion of a slow path toward adult activities seems to imply that just about all adolescents will end up engaging in all the activities supposedly associated with adulthood — they will just be slower to get there.

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