Changes in occupational aspiration across cohorts and over the life course
They find that after their initial formation under ascriptive influences, occupational aspirations continue to evolve as new life experiences associated with changed societal values and opportunity structure provide impetus for change. The Civil Rights and the Women’s Movements contributed to age-, cohort-, and period-related increases in women and black men’s occupational aspirations. The economic downturn after 1973 also played a role, reducing young men’s occupational aspirations and reverting black men’s aspirations to the same level as that prior to the 1970s, negating the positive influences of the Civil Rights Movement. In addition to these important historical forces, socioeconomic background, race, and gender retain a pervasive impact on the regulation of young people’s aspirations in adolescent and young adulthood in the United States.