A Study of Self-Sufficiency, 1997-2017Morgan Anderson December 19, 2017Aim: The aim of this paper is to determine whether or not the mean age at which young adults leave home has changed since a study conducted in 1997. The reason that I picked this topic is because I, much like everyone else in my class, am about to leave high school and the comfort of our parents’ homes to go to college. One of the things that I used to preach to my parents when I was younger was that I would be able to support myself one day, and that I would start saving money as soon as I could get a job. I have found it very interesting at the number of young adults who continue to rely on their parents even after college. So, I decided to conduct my research paper on this topic. Background: The time at which young adults leave home to live on their own is a milestone; a time of newfound independence and a massive step toward the prime of adulthood. However, over the years, the age at which it has been practical for young adults to make this leap may have changed. Economic and social scenes alike have changed drastically over the past two decades, and the following study aims to uncover, if it exists, the gap between the age of self-sufficiency 20 years ago and the age of self-sufficiency today. It will always be important to assess the progress of our nation’s youth. One of the reasons that I found this topic to be an interesting subject to research was because my sister is about to graduate from college, and she is applying for graduate school, but she is doing it all on her own. Of course, she has had the moral support of our family, but financially she has been doing everything on her own. My sister works two jobs, all while juggling her classes at school and her performances (she’s a voice major), so I thought it would be interesting to find out whether there are more young adults that are taking the path that my sister is taking and doing, or if there are more who choose to live under the comfort of their parents’ roof for just a little bit longer. I predict that it will be the latter, based off of what I know about people and young adults around my age. The question posed for this is: Has the average age at which people leave home to live on their own increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the past 20 years, compared to the previous mean of 19, and if there are differences, what factors may have influenced them? The previous estimate is taken from the data gained from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, which gives the median age of self-sufficiency to be 19. Assuming the data from this survey is normally distributed, the mean age of self-sufficiency is 19 as well. The hypothesis that I aim to find evidence to support is that the age of self-sufficiency has increased over the last 20 years, due to factors such as increasing property prices and unemployment.Data Collection: The method of data collection makes use of convenience sampling, and this fact should be taken into account when considering the results of this study. Convenience sampling is not the ideal way that I would have like to conduct this study, but it was the only practical way of going about it. I collected a total of 120 data points in order for the results to be as accurate as possible. The question posed to each subject was: “At what age did you leave home to live on your own in a state of self-sufficiency? Unless you were self-sufficient in college, those years do not count.” I acknowledge that my sample is not a completely accurate representation of the population, because I did not have the means to access to other people across the socioeconomic spectrum. Data Analysis and Results:Table #1: Summary Statistics This table shows summary statistics for the data set in question.Sample SizeMeanStandard Deviation5 Number Summary12022.4416673.135044118, 19.5, 22, 25, 30 A five-number summary includes the five most important numbers within the data: The minimum, the median, mean, mode, and maximum. The five-number summary is included to showcase the basis of the data without including every single data point. Graph #1: Age of Self-Sufficiency Boxplot This boxplot shows the distribution of ages of self-sufficiency of all 120 adults. There are two ways to check to make sure that the distribution of the data is normal. One way is to see if the sample size is greater than 30. If the sample size is greater than 30 than the data is normally distributed. The second way to check to see if the data is normally distributed is to compile the data into a boxplot or a QQ plot. I chose to compile my data into a boxplot, even though the sample size is greater than 30. After looking at the boxplot, the distribution of data can be assumed to be normally distributed because n > 30, and because the boxplot indicates no outliers. After checking to make sure that the data was in fact evenly distributed, I found a 95% confidence interval to support any findings I discovered while doing hypothesis testing.  The 95% confidence interval for the data was calculated to be (21.874984, 23.00835). The confidence interval can be interpreted to mean that one can be 95% confident that the true mean age at which people leave home and become self-sufficient is between the ages of 21.9 and 23.0 years old.Hypothesis Test: H0: ? = 19 Level of Significance: ? = 0.05 H1: ? > 19 A hypothesis test will help to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to support my hypothesis that the mean age has increased from 19. I aim to find evidence to support the claim that the mean age of self-sufficiency has increased since the 1997 mean of 19 years old.Table #2: Hypothesis Testing Results This table indicates the results of the hypothesis testing.Sample MeanStandard ErrorT-StatisticP-Value22.4416670.2861890612.02585<0.0001 Because the P-Value (<0.0001) is less than the level of significance (? = 0.05) I reject the null hypothesis (H0). This means that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that the mean age at which people leave home to become self-sufficient has increased since 1997.The mean age of self-sufficiency of our current group of 120 adults, 22.4, is approximately 3.4 years greater than the 1997 mean of 19 years old. The standard deviation for the 2017 data is 3.135, meaning that the mean from 1997 is more than one standard deviation away from the 2017 mean. The calculated confidence interval indicated that I could be 95% sure that the true mean was between 21.9 and 23 years old, an interval well above 19 in relativity to the spread of the data. All three of these facts are substantial hints that the age of self-sufficiency has increased over the past 20 years, but the hypothesis testing provided more reliable confirmation of our claim. There is enough evidence, using a significance level of ? = 0.05, to support my initial hypothesis that the age of self-sufficiency has increased as of 2017 in a statistically significant manner above the 1997 mean age of 19. My hypothesis was correct.Reflection: The data collection phase of this project seemed to be the most difficult. It took longer than expected to find enough adults to answer the question that were not too old, and because we were not able to contact adults outside of our socioeconomic group, our sample is biased. Upon a repeat of this study, it would be highly recommended to find a method of including responses across the socioeconomic spectrum to increase accuracy and reduce bias. More extensive exploration of the subject should also include a much larger sample size, as well as a larger geographical spread of respondents. The larger the sample size the more accurate the results and the lower the margin of error. Aside from the data collection phase, this went very smoothly. I chose this topic for my paper because I found it to be interesting and was truly curious about the change in the age of self-sufficiency over time. As a result, I enjoyed the assignment and am now much more well informed on my topic of choice. Bibliography: Dey, Charles R. "Independence For Young Millennials: Moving Out And Boomeranging Back : Monthly Labor Review: U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics." Bls.gov. N. p., 2014. Web. 6 Dec. 2017. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2014/article/independence-for-young-millennials-moving-out-and-boomeranging-back.htm

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