I have been lost in the middle.
I’ve known about the “baby boomers,” because I am one, but ask me about who is a “Generation X” or a “millennial” and I am lost. Not that it’s really important, but it’s nice to know if the terms pop up in the news or in conversation.
So I went on the internet and found some short explanations about the various generations now living. I had completely forgotten about the “Silent Generation.” Probably because they are so quiet. There are discrepancies on the start and finish on some of these “generations,” as stated in at least one of the explanations.
So we’ll start with the “Greatest Generation,” those born in 1924 or earlier. According to CNN, news anchor and author Tom Brokaw came up with the term for those who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. No argument from me on those people being regarded as the greatest. CNN also stated that as of 2016, there were approximately 1.5 million Americans in this age group, according to the American Factfinder tool from the US Census.
Next is the “Silent generation,” those born between 1925 and 1945. CNN said Time magazine came up with this term “because they were more cautious than their parents.” But this group also produced several rock musicians, filmmakers, television personalities and political satirists. And the US census reported that as of 2016, there were between 21.2 million and 28.4 million Americans in this age group.
And here we are, the “baby boomers,” born between 1946 and 1964, named for the birth-rate explosion of the time period after WWII. As CNN reported: “As of 2016, the number of baby boomers ranged from 74.1 million to 81.3 million, depending on whether the generation begins with the birth year 1943 or 1946.”
Generation X is one group I didn’t know much about – how it came to be named and what years it spanned. Members of this generation were born between 1965 and 1980. Supposedly the name came from a chapter in a book written about the American status system. Whatever.
Here’s an interesting fact about Generation X stated by CNN: “Although about 75 percent of people in this group earn more than baby boomers did when they were the same age, only 36 percent have more wealth than their parents, due to debt, according to a 2014 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.” Also: “Pew Research projects that in 2028, Generation X-ers will outnumber baby boomers.” Yes, not a surprise that us baby boomers will quickly die off in the next decade.
Lastly, the “millennial generation,” those born between 1981 and 1997. According to CNN and the Census Bureau, this group, as of 2014, is now the largest generation, with 83.1 million members as compared to us baby boomers at 75.4 million. This millennial term was from a book called “Generations.” This generation, according to the CNN article, tended to live with their parents more than any other generation. Can anyone say “hard times?”
So what about the next generation? CNN said demographers have yet to come up with a formal name for those born after 2000.
Interesting reading and now I’m not so lost. But I am still in the middle.