generation names

Generation Names & Labels

Generation Names – List of Living Generations from Gen Z to G.I. Generation

Are you a youthful, digital-native Generation Z child, a 20-30 something Millennial who clearly remembers 9/11, or an older member of the Silent Generation? Researchers and demographers love to group people and give each of them generation names and labels, so they can talk about generational trends in general terms. People born at the same time, in the same locality, that have lived through the same life experiences, are known as “birth cohorts” and tend to have similar prospects, outlooks, preferences and value systems. The ADDucation generations list focuses on the living generations that make up western populations today. The birth years are just for guidance, if you’re born a few years either side of a generation gap take a look at the generation characteristics and see which label fits you best.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs About Generation Names

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Generation Names Birth Years3 Formulative Experiences Generation Characteristics, Facts & Trivia

Generation Z

Alternative generation names include: Gen Z, iGen, Centennials, The Founders, Homelanders, Screeners, ReGen, Plurals, Posts with more to emerge.

  • Global warming
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Terrorism
  • Facetime
  • Green energy
  • Arab spring
  • iGen is the most diverse generation ever – so diverse they only notice absence of diversity!
  • iGens are technoholics with limited or no concept of not being able to do all the things technology offers them.
  • The Founders are the biggest influencers of how older generations use technology – which now trickles UP the generations.
  • Gen Z are tech savvy, brand aware and most open to new ways to shop, bank and communicate.
  • Generation Z4 know life isn’t going to be easy or fair.
  • Social media affects the self-esteem of Generation Z more than other generations.
  • Gen Z believe in the American dream and democracy but is depressed by the economy and political leaders.

Generation Y

Alternative generation names include: Gen Y, Millennials, Generation Me, Generation We, Echo Boomers, Peter Pan Generation

  • 9/11 Terrorist attacks
  • School shootings
  • Y2K
  • Iraq invasion
  • Reality TV
Anyone who can remember 9/11 (11 September 2001) and was born after 1977 is a Millennial2. There are other birth years for this generation but they don’t meet the 9/11 criteria which we feel is so pivotal, we’ve adopted it.
  • Millennials are tech dependent, they generally don’t understand how it works, but they know they need it
  • Rise of consoles Xbox, Nintendo & PlayStation
  • Rise of social media and texting.
  • Gen Y suffers from depression more than other generations.
  • Millennials are now splitting into two groups, aged around 30 years old, based on whether they have children or not and the two groups find it hard to relate to each other.
  • Millennials are sometimes referred to as “Generation Me” but new research believes they may be “Generation We“.
  • Millennials most offended by being accused of exhibiting a sense of entitlement are other millennials.

Generation X

Gen X, Baby Busters, Gen Xers

  • Fall of Berlin Wall
  • Live Aid
  • Home computers
  • Thatcherism
  • Challenger explosion
  • Rise of divorce
  • Children were referred to as latch-key kids “the latchkey generation” because they were often left unsupervised while both parents worked.
  • As adults Generation X1 are entrepreneurial, active and enjoying a good work-life balance.
  • The term Gen X has also been used to describe subcultures and countercultures since the 1950s.
  • Gen Xers, as teenagers/youngsters watched MTV, wrote emails and sent SMS text messages.

Baby Boomers

There are many reference to alternative generation names including: Generation Jones, GenJonesers, Me Generation, Golden Boomers, Late Boomers, Trailing-Edge Boomers, Cuspers, Alpha Boomers

1946-1964 So called because of the demographic “boom” or “shockwave” of increased birth rates following the second World War.
  • Although often seen as rejecting traditional values, baby boomers share many values with older and younger generations.
  • The first generation to perceive and talk about the world in generational terms leading to attempts to define subcultures including hippies, yuppies and many others.
  • Many of the cultural influences were born during the Silent Generation, most noticeably musicians including The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones,
  • Baby boomers were more active, physically fitter and wealthier than earlier generations.
  • Baby boomers grew up expecting to be able to offer a better world for their children – which affected how they parented their children.

The Baby Boomers generation also includes the Generation Jones (1954-1965) a sub-group which covers the post-World War II baby boomers to the first wave of Generation X. Taken from “keeping up with the Joneses,” a competitive desire for material possessions, ultimately denied by recession and unemployment in the 1980s.

  • Politically GenJonesers have been identified in western elections as key swing voters.
  • The Generation Jones cohort are often cynical, pessimistic and distrusting of government.
  • Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are both Generation Jonesers.

The Silent Generation

Traditionalists, Maturists, Veterans, Lucky Few

  • World War II
  • Great depression
  • Rationing
  • Fixed gender roles
  • Jobs for life
  • Wrote letters
So called because they generally conformed to the social norms of the time and focused on their careers.
  • The youngest members of the silent generation may have fought in World War II
  • Older members may have fought in the Korean War and/or Vietnam War.
  • The hardships during the great depression leading up to the second world war resulted in fewer children – the “lucky few”.
  • Despite being called the silent generation its influence has extended to all younger generations:
    • Political leaders: Elizabeth II, Robert F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, Jacques Chirac, Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin.
    • Revolutionary leaders: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara
    • Civil rights leaders: Martin Luther King, Malcolm X
    • Activists: Gloria Steinem (1934)
    • Writers: Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
    • Artists: Andy Warhol (1928)
    • Musicians: The Beatles (born in 1940s), Bob Dylan (1941), The Rolling Stones (born in 1940s), James Brown, Elvis Presley, Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Frank Zappa (1940), Stephen Sondheim (1930)
    • Movie stars: Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner
    • Comedians: Richard Pryor, John Cleese, Bill Cosby (1937), Joan Rivers, Dave Allen, Woody Allen
    • Philosophers: Noam Chomsky (1928), Richard Rorty (1931)

G.I. Generation

(G.I. is short for General or Government Issue), Greatest Generation, WWII generation

  • Roaring Twenties
  • World War I
Most of this generation lived through World War I and were old enough to fight in World War II or serve on the home front. They also lived through the 1930s Great Depression. The Greatest Generation influenced subsequent generations:
  • 7 former Presidents of the United States of America: Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973), John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), Richard Nixon (1913–1994), Gerald Ford (1913–2006), Jimmy Carter (1924), Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) and George H. W. Bush (1924)
  • Movie stars and entertainers: Peter Cushing (1913–1994), Alec Guinness (1914–2000),
    Frank Sinatra (1915–1998), Dean Martin (1917–1995) and Judy Garland (1922–1969)
  • Writers: Ian Fleming (1908–1964), Stan Lee (1922)
  • Pope John Paul II (1920–2005)
  • Leonid Brezhnev (1906–1982), General Secretary of the Soviet Union
  • Athletes: Jesse Owens (1913–1980)

Generation Names Notes & References:

  • [1] Generation X was taken from a 1950s photo essay by Robert Capa and popularized by 1965 book written by British journalists, Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett called Generation X and a 1991 book, written by Douglas Coupland, called Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.
  • [2] Coming up with Millennials is widely credited to Neil Howe and his co-author William Strauss in their books. 1991 “Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069” and in 2000 “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation”.
  • [3] Birth years (aka demographic cohorts) are flexible. Different researchers and commentators have defined different boundaries for each generation which also varies by country and locality.
  • [4] Generation Z is likely to be replaced by one of the current alternative generation names but no consensus has emerged so far.

Cool TED-X Talk About Generation Names by Jason Dorsey in Houston

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