Coming of Age in Appalachia, Emerging or Expedited Adulthood?

Emily E.N. Miller, Kathryn Edin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We examine the transition to adulthood in a poor, white, rural community in Appalachia. Young adults come of age in a context of persistent poverty, economic decline, an ongoing opioid and addiction crisis, and strong community norms about family and work bolstered by religious institutions. For low-income young adults in this community, this stage in the life course is both expedited and emerging. Marriage and childbearing are expedited, frequently occurring in late teens or early twenties. However, other adult markers-such as stable employment, pursuing education, and leaving the parental home-are often slow to emerge and are usually only tentatively achieved. This pattern is in contrast to middle-class young adults in this community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-67
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • addiction
  • life course
  • poverty
  • rural
  • young adulthood


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