Generational Labels

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!

 

 

                                                                                                                    Huffington Post

Generation X (currently aged 36 – 56):

Disaffected

Depressed

Pessimistic/cynical

Hit hard by the Recession

Used pay phones

Owned cassettes

Wore flannel

Grunge

Take this quiz to see how Gen X you are

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Millennials (currently aged 13 – 35):

Optimistic

Entitled

Tech savvy

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

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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

Graduated college

Played Oregon Trail on clunky computers

“Too young for CalecoVision, too old for Uniqlo”

Take a quiz to see if you are an Xennial

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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):

Diverse

Rely on social media

Desire to fix their disrupted society

Hardly use their cell phones for talking

Use Snapchat, Facetime and texts to communicate

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Credit for image – Mashable