Getting the Generations right

Who’s in what generation, what are their peculiar charactistics, is there a difference and why. After hunting for the same information over and over in different guises, I’m putting it here with other stats.  These are from the Pew Research Centre, with some interesting notes on where the names came from. Currently (in 2010):

Millennials are aged 18 to 29
Gen Xers  30 to 45
Baby Boomers  46 to 64 and
Silents  65 and older

Naming the Generations

Generational names are the handiwork of popular culture. Some are drawn from a historic event; others from rapid social or demographic change, others from a big turn in the calender [1].

The Millennial generation are named after the turn in the calender and refers to those born after 1980 – the first generation to come of age in the new Millennium.

Generation X covers people born from 1956 through 1980. The label long ago overtook the first name affixed to this generation: the Baby Bust. Xers are often depicted as savvy, entrepreneurial loners.

The Baby Boomer label is drawn from the great spike in fertility that began in 1946, right after the end of World War II, and ended almost as abruptly in 1964, around the time the birth control pill went on the market.  It’s a classic example of a demography-driven name.

The Silent generation describes adults born from 1928 through 1945. Children of the Great Depression and world War II, their ‘Silent’ label refers to their conformist and civic instincts.  It also makes for a nice contrast with the noisy ways of the anti-establishment Boomers.

The Greatest generation (those born before 1928) ‘saved the world’ when it was young – it’s the generation that fought and won World War II. [1]

There are many other interesting statistics in the report, another one that is useful is the uptake of social networking sites.


These statistics relate to the American population and we cannot assume that these accurately reflect trends in other countries.