Behavioral Trends: Delayed Adulthood


Delayed Adulthood


We want to be free and forever young. We don’t want to be accountable nor responsible. We like improvising. We devote our income to self-improvement and self-indulgence. We feel like permanent adolescents dealing with self-esteem. We can’t cope with frustration.


The oxymoronic Mexican term “chavo ruco” roughly translates to “young elder”. It describes the rising phenomenon of adults well into their 30s – or more – who still behave as if they were teenagers. Usually childless and unmarried, “chavos rucos” believe youth is a state of mind and have built their lives around that belief, keeping a carefree, yet oblivious attitude. The maturity and seriousness implied in adulthood simply isn’t a choice for them.

Delayed Adulthood - Chavo Ruco


Overbearing and overprotective parents, also known as helicopter parents, are often the motivating factor behind delayed adulthood. When you depend on your parents for everything, and lack basic life skills, it’s hard, if not impossible, to become a self-sufficient, self-responsible adult. Julie Lythcott-Haims’ book “How to Raise an Adult” contains research and insights on how parents can reduce their overbearing habits and lead their children towards a successful transition to adulthood.

Delayed Adulthood - How to Raise an Adult


“Ninis” (ni estudian, ni trabajan), or its equivalent English term “NEETs” (not in education, employment or training) can be seen as derisive terms to describe adults who are not actively pursuing self-sufficiency. The Japanese defintiion for NEETs includes the unemployed group of people from 15 to 34 years old, some of which still live with their parents and depend on them economically. This phenomenon is one of the most problematic aspects of delayed adulthood, as the adults never take on the responsibilities associated with their age, and instead rely on others for their sustenance.

Delayed Adulthood - Ninis - NEETs



F•R•I•E•N•D•S is an American television sitcom which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The show revolves around six 20–30-something friends living in Manhattan. Episodes depict the friends’ comedic and romantic adventures and career issues, and stayed on the same path for 10 whole seasons. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

delayed adulthood - friends



DINKs, acronym for Double Income No Kids, is a marketing term coined in the 80s to describe those couples already living together under the same household, but with no dependents under their responsibility. Even though living alone and by themselves, they are often depicted by the previous generations as “idiots who don’t commit to real life.”

delayed adulthood - the dinks


The Millennials is an audiovisual project from HDO, a human resources consultant in Mexico. It pretends to show the reality of intergenerational relationships at workplace, and how each generation sees the others as being totally wrong (while baby boomers may think millennials are lazy morons, millennials see the baby boomers as grumpy old people who totally missed the point of life: being happy).

delayed adulthood - the millenials


Click here to navigate our list of Behavioral Trends for value creation, full of insights and needstates, written from a post-demographic human-centered perspective by our partner Andrea Lobo.


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