Thursday, June 6, 2013

Generational Definitions: Knowing Gen X-ers From a Hole In The Ground

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 calendar. Generational names are works in progress. As our point of view changes, labels that once seemed spot-on may fall out of fashion. It’s not clear if the “Millennial” tag, for example, will endure, but a calendar change that comes along only once in a thousand years seems like a pretty secure anchor.

So what are the current names most commonly used to identify our generational differences? The PEW Research Center offers the following name tags as being ones now accepted in most research settings. After each definition are the estimates of people in Herkimer and Oneida Counties that fall into this category based on the 2011 Five Year American Communities Survey data.
  • The Millennial Generation label refers those born after 1980 and before the run of the millennium – these are the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.(Herkimer County = 15,509; Oneida County = 56,760)

  • Generation X covers people born from 1965 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. (Herkimer County = 12,735; Oneida County = 46,206)

  • The Baby Boomers 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. (Herkimer County = 16,372; Oneida County = 61,451)

  • 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. (Herkimer County = 7,208; Oneida County = 26,269)

  • The Greatest Generation (those born before 1928) “saved the world” when it was young, in the memorable phrase of Ronald Reagan. It’s the generation that fought and won World War 
    (Herkimer County = 1,738; Oneida County = 6,567)

Of course, this typography says nothing about the newest generation, namely those born AFTER the turn of the millennium. Any suggestions are welcome !

So has all this left you wondering how you fit into today's cutting edge Millennial Generation? Think maybe you're more in touch with them than whichever "older generation" you might actually originate from? Then you might want to try this quiz: How Millennial Are You ?