Baby boomers, Millennials, iGen – all the generations explained

By:

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center announced the official cut off for millennial generation. They concluded that only people born between 1981 and 1996 can be called Millennials. Sorry, Kendall Jenner, but your time has passed! Jokes aside, this news bring more confusion than relief. What generation do we fall into? What do we call people born in the last 12 years? Are Millennials the same as Generation Y and why wasn’t one name enough? Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about trendy generation titles.

To avoid further confusion – Generation Y is not even an official thing! It is a made-up term, first proposed by George Masnick when it became obvious that young kids didn’t really fit with the cool Generation X anymore, but not enough of them had been born to make a new generation designation yet. Y’ers included anyone born from the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s. The term was successfully replaced by “Millennials” later.

What are the official generations’ titles then?

Greatest Generation

Named by Tom Brokaw

Born in 1910-1945

The famous news broadcaster Tom Brokaw once called people, who fought in World War II, the Greatest Generation. His main premise was that these people lived and fought for freedom, for what was right, rather than for some selfish reasons, therefore, they are the greatest people out there. Everyone liked the idea and the name remained.

Some historians tend to brake Greatest Generation into The Greatest (were born before 1924 and actually fought in the war) and The Silent (their kids, born before 1945).

Baby Boomers

Named by US Census Bureau

Born in 1946-1964

The huge population increase occurred after the Great Depression, giving the way to Baby Boomers. They grew up in a quiet time – the Cold War couldn’t be compared to what their parents had gone through, right?  They called themselves Flower Children and opened a Pandora’s box of consumerism by spending every dollar they earned…the box we still have no idea how to close! On the positive side, Baby Boomers are known for raising environmental questions and fighting to protect our planet.

Generation X

Named by Harvard Center

Born in 1965-1980

Sometimes referred to as the “lost” generation as they have the lowest voting participation rate of any generation, the highest levels of skepticism and the worst music to ever gain popularity. The last item may be not a very scientific fact, just saying! Many X’s have experienced the divorce of their parents at an early age which is thought to have formed their future behaviour. X’ers tend to form families with caution and pragmatism as they try to avoid broken homes and kids being raised by one parent. Good news? These people are also the best educated generation with 29% obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher!

Millennials

Named by Strauss and Howe

Born in 1981-1996

Known as technology wise, Millennials were the first generation to really promote this whole “the year of birth defines who you are” thing. Probably, because while they were growing up, their fingers were glued to social media icons and they were lucky to get the most sophisticated title out there. Seriously, it’s way more pleasant to promote a feeling of belonging to “Millennials” than to the “Lost” generation, don’t you think so?

Millennials are more racially and ethnically diverse, yet more segmented. They are less brand loyal, but more flexible in making decisions. Thank the rapid expansion in Cable TV channels, internet, digital knowledge, etc. for that.

Generation Z

Named by Strauss and Howe

Born in 1995 – 2012

Jean Twenge PhD has also called this generation “iGen”…and that names says it all! iGen’ers are those who’ve learned how to install mobile apps before they’ve learned how to speak. Millennials have largely adapted to social media and being online all the time and people born in the 90s, and later, probably don’t even remember a time without those tools.

They are much more tolerant to different cultures, sexual orientations, races, and don’t rely on religion that much any more. They aren’t in any hurry to start a serious relationship or to get married, and they prefer Instagram to Facebook.

There is still no official title for the generation born in the last six years. Some scientists and sociologists subtly hint at the title “Generation Alpha” for children born 2013-2025, but with technology evolving so quickly these days, no one can yet predict what the values and distinguishing features of today’s kids will look like and how many years it will it take to develop them.