In emerging adulthood, many individuals continue to experience the sustained struggle of self-identification begun during adolescence. Although traditionally, developmentalists believed the struggle for self-identity was conquered during adolescence, however, the thinking has changed. This struggle may continue through the twenties for many young adults. As the social character of this age group changes with greater availability of educational options and the delay of traditional milestones, equally changed is the personal attainment of identity. Additionally, as our culture has become more diverse, this affects cultural affiliation which is a significant part of one's identity.
Some developmentalists suggest ethnic and vocational identity are the two most difficult parts of identity that may require further development during this stage. In the United States, almost half of the members of this life stage are children of immigrants or from ethnic descent, and for this group, identifying with their ethnicity becomes an important part of determining their self-identity. In the modern globalization now characteristic of this country, combining the many aspects of one's native culture (or that of the parents) is often an arduous task. One's ethnicity must be appropriately integrated for the successful attainment of personal identity.
Some psychologists question whether vocational identity is illusory given the current national financial environment. Another contemporary consideration is whether it is more realistic to have a job to satisfy financial needs while satisfying creative needs elsewhere as many emerging adults do. The traditional notion of steady, structured vocation may be neither realistic nor rational in our present economic climate. Considering these ideas, it changes the face of identifying a vocational identity. More people feel free to change this identity now more than any other time in history.