Guys, listen. I’m a Xennial (Gen X), and I identify pretty hard with my people. We’re a bunch of nihilists who depend on only ourselves and have been expecting the fiery destruction of the world as we know it for some time now, and we’re doing okay. Mostly.
That said, I totally feel for Millennials, who get blamed for absolutely everything even though most people seem to have no idea what a Millennial is (or that they’re definitely not still going on spring breaks from college).
So, maybe it’s time we all take a refresher course on the birth years for set generation, including recent and timely revisions that have been made.
The years that encompass any given generation past the Baby Boomers have always been flexible and unofficial, but the Pew Research Center is looking to change that with a set of official guidelines.
- The Silent Generation: 1928-1945 (73-90 years old)
- Baby Boomers: 1946-1964 (54-72 years old)
- Generation X: 1965-1980 (38-53 years old)
- Xennial (Microgeneration)*: 1977-1983 (35-41 years old)
- Millennials: 1981-1996 (22-37 years old)
- Post-Millennials: 1997-Present (0-21 years old)
(*The official Pew Research list discounts the recent addition of Xennials, but as one, I promise you it’s a thing. We are the small generation that grew up in a pre-digital world but have adapted alongside technology. Officially, you’re a GenX or a Millennial now, but in your heart, you know where you belong.)
Other interesting things to note:
- The new Millennial cutoff of 1996 is important because it means they’re old enough to have experienced and comprehend 9/11, a formative event for so many, and have also gotten through school during the 2008 recession.
- Millennials, in fact, have been disproportionately affected by the economic downturn in profound ways, with their early careers being stunted, amassing student loans, or difficulty finding a well-paying job at all. Michael Dimock of the Pew Center said that the “slow start to their careers” will be “a factor in American society for decades.”
- Technology plays a big part in the deciding lines, as well – Post-Millennials will have no memory of life before iPhones while Baby Boomers watched televisions become a thing in every home. Generation X lived alongside the coming of the computer age, and Millennials were the first to accept the internet as a way of life.
These guidelines change quite a bit, with earlier lines being drawn around the Millennial generation from 1982-2004, and others thinking it should end in the early 90s. As always, what makes a Millennial seems to be at the crux of the issue.
Dimcock himself points out that “cutoff points aren’t an exact science. They’re simply tools to analyze the different shifts in how age groups are experiencing the world – socially, economically, politically, and technologically.”
So, as ever, take it with a grain of salt. But if your neighbor’s kids are running around ignoring the government’s orders, they’re definitely not Millennials – though they’re probably being parented by one.