These are Western Cultural Generations. Japan and Asia and portions of Europe will have their own generational definitions based on major cultural, political, and economic influences.
|The Lost Generation -
The Generation of 1914
|The Interbellum Generation||1901||1913||104||116|
|The Greatest Generation||1910||1924||93||107|
|The Silent Generation||1925||1945||72||92|
|Baby Boomer Generation||1946||1964||53||71|
|Generation X (Baby Bust)||1965||1979||38||52|
|Generation Y -
The Millennial -
(*if still alive today)
Note: Dates are approximate and there is some overlap because there are no standard definitions for when a generation begins and ends. See the section below about why this overlap.
Note: Sources for our data are listed at bottom of page.
As of 2013 most of these folks are still too young to have made an impact. However the older ones might be fighting our war in Afghanistan. The younger ones are hopefully still in school and planning on careers and jobs that will have strong demand and generate new opportunities.
If you are Gen Z, please pick a major in fields where there will be plenty of jobs and avoid fields where the jobs are limited. Unless of course you are so different and truly exceptional.
Healthcare and high tech are the booming fields now and that will continue for decades.
Thus careers in science, engineering, software, and medicine are a good choice.
There won't be many jobs for people who major in English, history, geology. Sorry.
Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering look really good. As does nursing, and being a family doctor.
Civil Engineering offers very few jobs since we are not building a lot of bridges and buildings. So avoid that. Automotive engineering is tough. Not many US jobs.
The Millennials grew up and began their careers in a time when:
According to WikiPedia, Gen X was originally called "Gen Bust" because their birth rate was vastly smaller than the preceding Baby Boomers.
Gen X'ers were the first generation to experience:
Baby Boomers are defined as being from the huge population increase that followed World War II, and the Great Depression.
They grew up in a time of prosperity and an absence of world wars. They were the Flower Children, taking LSD and protesting the war in Vietnam.
Unlike their parents who grew up during the Great Depression, Boomers became the great consumers. They became famous for spending every dollar they earned.
This was the first Western Generation to grow up with two cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot.
Baby Boomer spending and consumerism has fueled the world economies.
The Baby Boomers fought for environmental protection.
Baby Boomers were the first generation to experience:
Those of the Silent Generation were born during the Great Depression. Their parents were mostly of the Lost Generation.
They grew up expecting a hard life. This was the era when a Christmas present might be a orange or a full meal.
They are called the Silent Generation because as a group they were not loud. They did not protest in Washington. There were no major wars to protest.
Those of the Greatest Generation grew up during the Great Depression and probably fought in World War II. They are also known as the GI Joe Generation.
They are the parents of the Baby Boomers.
They were named the Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, famous News Broadcaster. Brokaw said they were the greatest because they fought for what was right rather than fighting for selfish reasons.
They certainly made great self sacrifices, fighting to protect people in other countries from the likes of Hitler, Mussolini and Japanese Kamikaze suicide bombers.
Makes one wonder what they will call those bankers and insurance company executives who fought only for personal gain thus creating the 2007-2009 financial collapse.
In the USA, there are two different methods for marking the borders between generations.
The US Census Bureau appears to use census data (duh) and the rise and fall of the birth rate to mark borders between generations.
Other researchers, such as Pew, use major cultural events to define the borders between generations.
Here is an example of using the birth rate fluctuations to define borders between generations:
(Sources: Harvard Joint Center on Housing Perspectives)
(Sources: US Census B - National Vital Statistics)
Here is how Pew Research defines generations:
(Source: Pew Research )
At CareerPlanner.com we have recently chosen to use the cultural method rather than the birth rate method for deciding when a generation begins and ends. The reason is that we are more interested in the cultural events that shaped a person's thinking.
If your birth date falls on the border between two generations, which one do you pick?
Pick the generation that you relate to the most, and the one you want to be part of.
Why so arbitrary? This is not a precise science with firm definitions.
On 9-29-2016 we made the following adjustments to the date ranges of Gen x, Millenials, Gen Z:
On 11-9-2016 we made these changes, based on further research:
Why make these changes? The cut off dates for each generation vary over time as the characteristics of that generation become more well understood. In the US, it appears demographers are trying to stick to ranges of 15 years (Japan uses 10 years). Finally, as the public pays more attention to generations, such as Millenials, certain dates become more accepted.
The bottom line is that the experts do not agree on when generations begin and end. Sorry for this confusion. I would prefer to have things nice and tidy, precise and exact.