The new micro-generation between GenX and Millennials – Xennials.
In the 19th century, philosophers began to discuss the idea of generations with different mentalities, cultures and life experiences. A generation spans roughly 15 – 20 years and modern demographers and cultural observers gave descriptive names to current generations. Actual dates vary for each generation depending on the source.
Here is a historical breakdown of generations with their nicknames:
- Gertrude Stein is thought to be the first one to name a generation when she coined the term Lost Generation for those born roughly between 1880 and 1900 who lived through the first World War.
- Those born between 1901 and 1924 have been called the GI Generation, a term coined by generational theorists Howe and Strauss. Tom Brokaw renamed that generation the Greatest Generation because they grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II.
- Then came the Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1942. Too young to fight in World War II, the Silent Generation is squeezed between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers.
- Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 –1964.
- The generation born between 1965 and 1980 is called Gen X.
- The generation born between 1981 and 2003 are the Millennials. They are currently aged between 14 and 35 years old.
Every generation develops a cusp or micro-generation that doesn’t quite fit with the previous or next generation. This sense of not fitting is particularly true for those on the cusp of the Gen X and Millennial generations. Some people currently in their late 20s and early 30s, one of my daughters among them, do not identify with the Millennial label. They now have their very own label, the result of a micro-generation that bridges the disaffected Gen Xers and the optimistic, overly confident Millennials. This new group is called the Xennials. They were born between 1977 and 1983. I can understand how this micro-generation cusp developed. Knowing many people who fall into the Millennial ages, I am struck by the fact that today’s 14 year old doesn’t have a great deal in common with today’s 35 year old, except perhaps as a babysitter! The term was coined by Sarah Stankorb in one of the earliest articles about Xennials in GOOD magazine in 2014.
Wildly general descriptions of these age groups from media sources have it that the Gen Xers are pessimistic and cynical, the Millennials are optimistic, driven, and very tech savvy, and the Xennials are a combination, but definitely not as tech savvy. Take these descriptions with a grain of salt!
Generation X (currently aged 36 – 56):
Hit hard by the Recession
Used pay phones
Take this quiz to see how Gen X you are
Millennials (currently aged 13 – 35):
Too confident and sure of themselves
Became adolescents when Clinton was president
Move back in with Mom & Dad
Grew up with cell phones
Owned cassettes, then cds then neither
Take this quiz to see if you are a Millennial
Xennials are a combination:
Xennials (currently aged 34 – 40):
Analog childhood and a digital adulthood
Used pay phones and then cell phones
Spent more time outdoors
Have both Gen X cynicism and Millennial optimism and motivation
September 11 was traumatic
Recession slowed their launch
Terrorism became a reality
Played Oregon Trail on clunky computers
Take a quiz to see if you are an Xennial
So, what’s next? Here are some early signs of the traits of the next generation, born 2003 and later:
Current and as yet unnamed generation (those aged 14 and younger):
Rely on social media
Desire to fix their disrupted society
Hardly use their cell phones for talking
Use Snapchat, Facetime and texts to communicate
Credit for image – Mashable