Officially ‘Adulting’

New Survey Explores What It Really Means to Be an ‘Adult’

SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (Aug. 6, 2019) – Millennials, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Zers have diverging beliefs about what it means to be an adult, according to new research. The study’s findings on attitudes towards “adulting” found several generational divides, including differing opinions on the age at which a person should officially be considered an adult and what foods are deemed most adult-like.

Talkin’ About My Generation:

The new national survey of 2,000 Americans, ages 18-51+, commissioned by Farm Rich, found:

  • Millennials seem to put more pressure on themselves to reach adulthood. According to the survey, after age 26 Millennials believe it becomes embarrassing if you are not a full-fledged adult. Baby Boomers were more forgiving and said 31 is the cut-off.
  • Millennials surveyed said that 22 is the age they felt comfortable having a steady job. Baby Boomers, however, said it was age 17 for them.
  • When asked what’s considered to be the “favorite” age in life, the average Millennial wishes they could be 23 for the rest of their life, whereas Boomers said 32.

Signs of Adulting:

When looking at the top signs of “adulting” across generations, these emerged as the top 10:

  1. Having a budget (55 percent)
  2. Buying a house (54 percent)
  3. Filing your own taxes (52 percent)
  4. Understanding and monitoring your credit score (48 percent)
  5. Investing in your 401(k) (46 percent)
  6. Doing your own laundry (43 percent)
  7. Scheduling regular doctors’ appointments (38 percent)
  8. Making a list to take when going to the grocery store (35 percent)
  9. Cooking dinner most of Monday through Friday (33 percent)
  10. Watching the nightly news (31 percent)

“We were very interested to learn more about how young people view the transition to adulthood, and how times have changed with this whole idea of adulting,” says Shannon Gilreath, Farm Rich Director of Marketing. “Part of the process of adulting is realizing you no longer have parents telling you what to do, where to be, or what to eat…so suddenly you realize you’re in charge of your own life and for some, that can be a strange feeling.”

Reaching Adulthood First, a Battle of the Sexes:

Although several generational differences came through in the study’s findings, another key survey result found a gap between the age at which men and women are considered to become full-fledged adults.

  • According to the findings, respondents consider men to officially be adults at age 26, while respondents overall felt women reach adulthood three years earlier, at age 23.

Eating Like a Grown-Up:

No matter the age, all generations in the survey came to the table when it was time to discuss what they love to eat and what foods are the “most adult” to have in the kitchen.

  • While some generational differences still came into play, Millennials and Baby Boomers both believe that having vegetables, fruits and coffee on hand are the top foods you need if you want to call yourself an adult.
  • About 33 percent of Millennials and Gen Zers revealed that frozen foods are a staple in the kitchens of adults, whereas a smaller group (21 percent) of Boomers feel frozen foods are must-haves for an adult kitchen.
  • Of those surveyed, 29 percent revealed that hosting dinner parties or gatherings is a true sign of being an adult.
  • Seventeen percent of respondents overall said eating snacks for dinner whenever you want is an indication that you have officially reached adulthood, but Gen Zers are three times more likely to find excitement in having snacks for dinner than Baby Boomers (30 percent vs. 9 percent).
  • More than 25 percent of Millennials believe a grown-up kitchen always has snacks.
  • Over half of Millennials and almost as many Generation Xers confessed their food preferences are more childlike. Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are all guilty of indulging frequently in comfort foods from their youth.
  • While all these generations love to chow down on pizza, spaghetti, hot dogs, mac and cheese and a grilled cheese sandwich from time to time, those aged 46-50 are 12 percent more likely to reach for a slice of pizza than any other younger generation, while Millennials are more likely to reach for the chicken nuggets compared to Baby Boomers (44 percent vs. 20 percent)

Adds Gilreath, “The findings in this study are both funny and true. When it comes to food, for example, it’s interesting to see how it plays such a big part in attitudes toward adulting – things like doing your own grocery shopping, entertaining friends, cooking at home, the nostalgia around the comfort foods from our youth, or just eating snacks for dinner and to relieve stress from time to time.”

So Done Adulting

At some point, regardless of the generation label, all adults grow tired of “adulting” and want a break from the stress that comes with adulthood. When that time comes, the main way to release from the stress is all about getting some “me time” for 40 percent of those surveyed.

  • Millennials and Gen Zers surveyed agree that stress is one of their least favorite parts of adulthood (46 percent for Millennials and 48 percent for Gen Zers, respectively). For Baby Boomers, aging is the least favorite part of being an adult (68 percent).
  • For Millennials, 43 percent turn to video games to forget their adult responsibilities, while 33 percent of Boomers eat whatever comforting snacks they want to relieve their stress.
  • Gen Zers find respite in sleep with naps being an escape for more than 50 percent of respondents in the Gen Z age range, 15 to 20 percent more than any other generation.

Other key findings from the survey:


  • Having a budget: 55%
  • Buying a house: 54%
  • Filing your own taxes: 52%
  • Understanding and monitoring your credit score: 48%
  • Investing in your 401(k): 46%
  • Doing your own laundry: 43%
  • Scheduling regular doctors’ appointments: 38%
  • Making a list to take when going to the grocery store: 35%
  • Cooking dinner most of Monday through Friday: 33%
  • Watching the nightly news: 31%
  • Changing the bed sheets regularly: 31%
  • Reading the newspaper: 29%
  • Hosting dinner parties or gatherings with friends: 29%
  • Buying a sensible pair of shoes: 27%
  • Making the bed every morning: 26%
  • Drinking wine: 26%
  • Using coupons: 25%
  • Getting excited about a Saturday night staying in: 25%
  • Starting the morning with coffee, lots: 23%
  • Taking something out of the freezer to “defrost: ”22%


  • Pizza: 61%
  • Spaghetti: 50%
  • Hot Dogs: 40%
  • Macaroni & Cheese: 35%
  • Chicken Nuggets: 35%


  • Vegetables: 52%
  • Fruit: 46%
  • Coffee: 44%
  • Milk: 37%
  • Mea: 37%
  • Chicken: 34%
  • Baking Ingredients: 33%
  • Fish: 33%
  • Frozen Food: 29%
  • Oatmeal: 26%

The Farm Rich-sponsored survey was conducted in May 2019 by OnePoll, with a sample of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18-51+. For the survey video, click here.


Editor’s Note: For a copy of the “Officially Adulting” survey or additional information, please contact Arielle D’Avanzo at arielle@creativecomminc.com or 404.435.5983.

About Farm Rich

A division of Rich Products, Farm Rich is one of the nation’s leading frozen snacks and appetizers brands. The company is based in St. Simons Island, Ga., and features a full portfolio of frozen snack and appetizer products sold at grocery and club stores nationwide, as well as online. Farm Rich Snacks are Real-Life GoodTM, made with wholesome, great-tasting ingredients the whole family loves. For products, nutritional information, recipes and more, visit FarmRich.com.