Do you know which generation you belong to? While you may already have an idea of your own generation, you might be surprised to find that Millennials are out of college and Gen Z isn’t the youngest.
What counts as a generation?
“Generations are a way of grouping age cohorts together. A generation generally refers to groups of people born over a period of 15 to 20 years,” according to the Pew Research Center. The study of people according to age groups – or generations – can be used to better understand the opinions, attitudes, perspectives and habits of different demographics.
Why is it important?
“Generations offer the opportunity to look at Americans both by their place in the life cycle – whether as a young adult, a middle-aged parent or a retiree – and by their membership in a cohort of individuals born at the same time,” according to Pew. Researchers, companies, and other organizations have used generations to categorize people and study their behaviors.
What generation do you belong to?
The dates of birth indicated for each generation may vary depending on the declarations. The dates and classification of each generation are based on a number of factors: “demographics, attitudes, historical events, popular culture, and the prevailing consensus among scholars,” Pewstates. “As a result, the lines that define generations are useful analytical tools, but they should be seen as guidelines rather than absolute distinctions.”
Generation GI (also known as the “greatest generation”):
- Born in 1924 or earlier.
- 98 years or older.
- This generation is the oldest living generation. They lived through the Great Depression and Pearl Harbor, and came of age in World War II. According to Family Search, members of the GI Generation are characterized by their personal responsibility, humility, work ethic, frugality, commitment, integrity, and selflessness, due to their experience of several tragic world events.
- Born between 1925 and 1945.
- 77-97 years old.
- These children were either very young during the Second World War or born in the aftermath. As children of the GI generation, members of the silent generation are known for their conformity and civic-mindedness, according to Pew. This generation is also known to be hardworking and patriotic.
- The Silent Generation got their nickname due to the calm and conservative nature of their members. Most of them were born too late to see World War II action and were too old for the hippie movement, according to NPR.
- Born between 1946 and 1964.
- 58-76 years old.
- After World War II, there was a “boom” in the birth rate – hence the name baby boomers. The population of this generation peaked in 1999, at 78.8 million baby boomers, according to CNN.
- “Due to their high numbers and the relative prosperity of the U.S. economy over their careers, baby boomers are an economically influential generation,” Investopedia reported.
- Baby boomers are defined as the “darkest generation” by Pew, given that they rated their life satisfaction lower and anxiety levels higher than any other generation of adults.
- Born between 1965 and 1980.
- 42-57 years old.
- Generation X got their name because of their refusal to be defined as a generation. “Their childhood was defined by many things, such as space exploration, great tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the development of the modern computer,” says Family Search.
- Generation X also saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and were the first generation to grow up after the civil rights movement.
- As the children of baby boomers, Gen Xers were raised in dual-income households more often than previous generations. This has led children of this generation to be more independent, flexible and self-sufficient, according to Family Search.
Generation Y (also known as Generation Y):
- Born between 1981 and 1996.
- 26-41 years old.
- When you think of millennials, your mind may first go to college students, but that’s far from true. Even younger millennials have been out of college for several years and have been in the workforce for quite some time.
- Millennials have been shaped by the Great Recession, 9/11, and the expansion of social media and the internet, according to Kasasa.
- Millennials recently beat baby boomers in terms of population and are currently the largest generation, says Pew.
- Millennials have a reputation for being self-centered, but on the other hand are more progressive than previous generations. According to Pew, millennials are more accepting of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, interracial marriage, and immigrants.
- Born between 1997 and 2009.
- 13-25 years old.
- Generation Z is in early adulthood and adolescence, the youngest members of this generation have little to no memory of the time before smartphones and social media. They are characterized by the digital age and are the most progressive and diverse generation to date, Pewreports.
- Most Gen Zers came of age during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as children of Gen Xers, Gen Zers grew up in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Great Recession, according to Kasasa.
- Gen Zers grew up in a world of the internet, war, disease and financial insecurity, and reported higher rates of anxiety and depression, according to Family Search.
- Born between 2010 and 2024.
- 12 and under.
- Many are unaware that there is a generation that comes after Generation Z. Generation Alpha is the youngest generation, with the oldest members being only 12 years old. This generation is made up of the children of Generation Y and even the older members of Generation Z.
- Members of Generation Alpha are still being born, so there isn’t much data on this generation yet, as they won’t all be born until 2025, according to McCrindle.
- They will likely be the most socially connected generation to date, given that few of the oldest members of Gen Z can remember a time before social media and widespread internet use. Analysts said Alpha would be the “best educated generation ever, the most tech-immersed, and the wealthiest,” according to The Atlantic.