I have a question. I am 19 years old and my voice started to break about 7 months ago. I had a lot of pimples, now it's not that bad, but my skin is very oily and my voice breaks occasionally. I just recently started to grow facial hair and I have light fine hairs on my upper lip, near my ears, my belly and the hair is a a tad bit coarser on my chin. I have also grown almost an inch in the past year, and I am starting to see tiny tiny hair pores on my chest, and I am started to grow light hair on my inner thigh. All the people my age seemed to have finish developing, would you classify me as a late bloomer? Most 19 year olds are biological adults, but I am not. I seem to mature slow, why is this?
Robert (age 19)
Your description of yourself puts you right at the end of stage four, or the beginning of stage five. The average boy reaches that point somewhere between 16 and 17. The fact that you reached that stage at age 19 puts you slightly behind the pack, but not out of the normal range. There are some men who don't get to stage four until they are in their twenties. But then, centuries ago, such appears to have been more common. Records of the Bach choir in Leipzig (an all boy's choir) in the 1700's show that the average boy's voice broke around age 17. Today the average is between 13 and 14. Of course, the sample size for the choir is small, specialized and there was incentive to hold a child's voice as long as possible, but still the shift is noticeable.
A late bloomer is someone who reaches full-maturity later than most people, so yes, you would fall into that category.
As to the "why?" people aren't sure. There are numerous articles written about guesses as to why people are developing sooner than in the past, but then we aren't really certain what the average development age was in the past as there are no general population records in the past. I have found some notes where one of the kings of England in the past fathered a child at the age of fourteen, so early development wasn't unheard of back then either.
One thing we do know is that nutrition plays a role. If a child doesn't eat well, development is delayed. Since the world's society tends to eat better than in the past, this could be a factor, but it doesn't explain everything. We are also fairly certain that genetics plays a role. Late bloomers tend to have children who are also late bloomers. But beyond that it has all been guess work.