Why are the Generation X and Millennial birth years so muddled?

I talked briefly in my last post, that the disparity in age span is odd. The earlier years birth years are 1977-1995. The later years are 1982-2000 or all the way to 2004. What is going on? 

I tend to lean more towards the later birth year span, and usually put the birth year around 1982, or a bit earlier at 1980. To help sort out the divide between these rather mashed-up generations lets look at the events on this timeline:

The 1980s: If your high school years were in the 1980s, you are safely defined as a GenXer. Think Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler, and Pheobe. The flashback episodes of these Friends in high school always sport stellar 1980s pop culture and fashion.

Changing Youth Culture in the 1990s: The early-90s in my mind were drastically different than the late-90s, and Pop culture is important in defining the Youth Culture of a generation. Kurt Cobain lead singer of “the flagship band” of Generation X died in 1994 at the age of 27, so people as young as 13 in 1994 (born 1981) could very well have been part of youth culture. It’s just one cultural example (and grunge is a bit of a GenX stereotype), but think– just five years later my class was rocking out to “…Baby One More Time” with many other artists unfolding after the arrival Queen of Pop Brittany Spears. And our older siblings loved to hate us for it.

September 11, 2001: This is an obvious event that shaped the Millennial generation. But the question is how? In my opinion it shaped millennial childhood, rather than their coming-of-age years. I agree that to be defined as a millennial you should have been old enough to process 9/11 and the first few post-9/11 years. Those born in 1977 would have turned 24 in 2011, and reached their late-20s in the following years, so were past their childhood/adolescent years.

2008 Financial Meltdown: Millennials born on 1990 would have graduated from high school in 2008, and I was just a couple years out of college. To me this even marks the Millennial coming-of-age more than the 9/11 events.

Technology, the Internet, Facebook: There was a huge technology burst from the early 90s to today. Millennials are “digital natives” but are also old enough to remember how things used to be before a lot of modern technology like smartphones, and social media. But things like Facebook arrived when the bulk of millennials were in adolescence. So again, I think this cultural phenomenon has effected this generation more during their childhood and adolescence years. Those born in the later Millennial years would have been post-college years. A lot of the technology we take for granted today we take for granted. Remember the iPhone didn’t even come out until 2007? 

Where are you in the Cycle of Generations?

One last thing I want to examine is Howe & Strauss’ theory of generations. In other posts I’ve said that I like to use this theory because at times it has been enlightening to how generations are formed. Although there is an internal logic to the theory, many of the posts I write attempt to unpack if the theory is actually playing out in the lives of millennials. Either way it’s interesting. The theory shows the rise and fall of a society, and generations are formed by where they land in that cycle: There is a time to question the foundation society is built on, followed by deconstructing social ideas, and then building a new one, and finally a time to stabilize it.

According to the theory Millennials are primed for the “building a new society phase,” while GenXers came-of-age during the Culture Wars when society was sorting out old cultural ideas from the new ones. It’s sometimes a subtle difference, but  I can see how GenXers tend to have more of a tendency to critique culture, while millennials are more focused on issues of stabilizing society. Millennials see the world around them, the lack of stability and economic crises, and they are really looking to build. And I see this attitude in people who were born a bit later in the 1980s and 1990s. When there is too much focus on cultural critique, in the mind of a millennial it’s deconstructing a world that they can’t relate to except through pop-culture references, and things they learned in history class.

What is at the root of the GenX/Millennial identity crisis?

Yes, Miley (born 1992) is a Millennial.

In all the talk about how millennials will “save the world” it’s tempting to see this group through rose-colored glasses. Late-GenXers have a lot of the positive traits of millennials: a positive attitude, a desire to act on things, and are open and receptive. But sometimes it’s important to not just assess the possible strengths but the accompanying weaknesses of a generation. I think to really know if something fits you you have to be able to claim both the good and the bad.

If you’re a late GenXer, you may not have some of the bad qualities of Millennials. Have you ever complained to your parents about a grade you received in college? Have you ever somehow strained a professional relationship with a superior because of entitlement? Are you a bit lost and directionless, and rely on your parents a lot for advice? Are you paralyzed by the fact that you might not be awesome?

If not, take heart that you may be a late GenXer who may have gotten the best of both worlds– overall a more positive attitude than your older cohorts, but you also escaped the millennial curse of entitlement and slight delusion

Perhaps the hang-up in determining this (still?) emerging generation is characteristic of the Information Age. Everyone has more information to analyze, and there are more voices than ever (mine included) chiming in with their thoughts.

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138 thoughts on “Why are the Generation X and Millennial birth years so muddled?

  1. You’re making me feel better and better about being on the GenX/Millennial bubble, Rachel! The questions you pose to late GenXers I answered no to all but the last one (albeit no longer paralyzed by that idea, but I once was). I did feel lost and directionless in my twenties, but did NOT rely on my parents to get me through it. I think that is a big difference between Millennials and GenX – the idea of turning TO our parents to figure out our internal struggles feels foreign, at least to me on the bubble! My parents are super-supportive and terrific, but I’ve always seen one of my great challenges is to learn how to think independently of them and their influence. Millennials seem to not have the same urge, on the whole. It’s all rather fascinating!

  2. Yes, I think it’s a key difference, the independence thing GenXers have more than Millennials. It’s hard to be definite, but these are a few reasons I tend to lean toward the later birth years. Another thing I’ll add is that people younger than me (I was born 1984) seem more “millennial” than me– for good and bad 🙂 I think people overuse the stereotype that Millennials are entitled, but unfortunately I HAVE seen it manifest itself in a way that I can’t imagine in people my age or older.

  3. Yea, I think I’m a true millenial, having the sense of entitlement, which I no longer have, but my ex was born in 1986 and definitely associated with the Gen Xers a lot more. It’s interesting how a couple of years and who and where you grew up around can have a difference.

  4. So, being born in 1982, what you’re saying really only applies to people born 1984-1999. I was a sophomore in college during 9/11, was in middle school in 1994, and had already been in the workforce for 4 years when the economic downturn happened. I’d also graduated college before the iPhone, etc. There was no establishing of technology until later. (I once interviewed to attend a college that had 4 computers hooked up to the internet and that wasn’t an incredibly rare occurrence when I started college.)

  5. Ages 15-24 is considered “adolescence”/young adult just for reference I was born in 1979, I neither identify as Gen X or Gen Y. But I believe turning 21 around the year 2000 has to do with it. So those who were 21 around 2000-2001. Which would make oldest Mellineals at 1978. I think the cut off point would be about 21 years after that- so youngest mellineals are those born about 2000-2002.

  6. Thanks for the fascinating articles about the late Gen X-early Millenial (Gen Y) “bubble.” I didn’t realize there was such a thing. I found this article after searching for differences between early Gen X and late Gen X, something that nobody seems to have written about but which has fascinated me for years.

    As an early Gen X’er (1970), I noted early on during the 90s how the “kids today” were increasingly different from “us” (those who were teens in the 80s). 80s teens had a strong group identity, in the sense we weren’t Baby Boomers. The term “hippie” was one of the worst insults you could call another Gen X’er in the 80’s. In particlar, we were politically a very conservative generation, as indicated by incredibly high poll numbers in support of Ronald Reagan among teens and college students. Today it seems crazy to think of teens and college students as predominately conservative or even far right, but it was true! The “generation gap” between “conservative teens and their liberal parents” was explored in a number of TV shows, for example Family Ties. In terms of our personal behavior, of course, we didn’t obviously did’n’t re-adopt 50s style morals, but often tended to view them more with a positive sort of nostalgia for a better time, as opposed to the outright hostilty that developed in the 90s. We were the first young people to grow up in a society in which divorce and broken homes were the norm rather than a rare exception. The late Gen X’ers on the other hand came of age under the unpopular Bush I and the popular Clinton, they had only some childhood memories of Reagan, divorce and broken homes were old hat, and TV had already become far more raunchy. Late Gen X’ers were not as liberal as Millinials, but much more so than early Gen X’ers (voting patterns to this day still tend to reflect these patterns).

    On the other hand, early and late Gen X do share many traits. A distrust of large institutions, a subtle rebellion against society, even a sublimated sense of nihilism that lingered from the malaise of the 70s. Both are, as you mention, a very independent generation. The thought of having parents even visit the school was horrifying to most of us, much less call the teacher and demand a grade be changed. Music too was fairly common. Genre changes occurred, but rock remained dominant throughout, at least among the majority population. Fashions that were cutting edge in the 80s became mainstream in the 90s. I do believe we are one generation, but clearly with two distinct cohorts.

  7. I was born in 1981. One phenomena I note is the Gen X is always wanting to make its generation smaller and smaller, as if a generation is a style thing. If you notice, it is the shortest generation ever, only 1964/5-1978ish. People only a few years older than me have annoyed me at various times by acting like I can’t remember stuff that I totally do remember from my childhood. My memory starts with hurricane Gloria in NY, which was Sept 1985. So it is annoying when Gen Xers act like I can’t remember certain things they want to claim as their own, like seeing people breakdance in the streets of NYC, or freestyle music in the 80s, or all of the TV shows of the late 80s….yeah, I wasn’t an adult, but I remember the same stuff they claim “defined” them. I also watched Heathers a million times when it came out and thought that that was what HS would be like. Now 25 years later GenXers are like “oh that is your movie, you have Clueless or MeanGirls.” Um, well, you can’t re-write history and act like I didn’t watch Heathers a million times either, so……IDK I just feel like GenX is quick to exclude people more so than any other generation. You don’t hear people saying “ugh, you are not cool enough to be a baby boomer.”

    • I was born in 1981 and this cracked me up because I know exactly what you mean about Gen Xer’s exclusiveness. Kids may not know how to respond or react to things they see or hear in their environment so that it may seem like they are unaware, but regardless of whether or not they can process and understand information at the time, they often perceive, or collected it far better than adults. I have a Gen X cousin that I’ve shocked because I can remember details and specifics from things like family holiday events better than he can.. Just because Millenials might have been on the floor seemingly occupied by autobots and GI Joes, that doesn’t mean we weren’t paying attention. Last-but-not-least- What we REALLY didn’t forget: all of those glorious moments of our “superior” gen X brothers/sisters/cousins when they were going through “the wonder years” and looked like “screech” on saved by the bell. To my fellow Millenials, Carry on! and never let those Xer’s forget- We’ve got this!

  8. Adolescent years are age 15-24. So technically, someone born in 1977 would be effected by 911 as a young adult. I think 1978 is the earliest I would put Gen Y. But I know some say its 1982. The way I see it is those oldest would have been about 21 or turning 21 in the year 2000. That is how you tell who marks the Mellenial Generation.

    • PEW research uses 1981 as the starting point. I generally think of 1980-81 as the starting point though if there was a study done about “millennials” birth years 1978+ I wouldn’t think its bogus or anything. My husband is birth year 1979 and there actually are some distinction between us that are generational…. But very subtle…(technology growing up, how we were parented, the school systems we grew up in). I think of him as a very millennial-ish genXer. But again… If a study about millennials included birth years up to ’78 I wouldn’t object. Any earlier than that I tend to disagree with.

    • 1981 is definitely included in Millennial. If anything I would say people born those years are “Xennials” and have attributes of both X and Y. To say that those born in 1981 are fully Gen X like Strauss and Howe does is just stupid. I have very, very little in common with those born in the 60s and 70s. Even late 70s were always the big kids to me.

  9. I don’t understand what the confusion is, unless you stray from non-sectarian academic studies and listen to non-credible “sub-cultural” reports. Generations are defined by 18 years; the amount of time it takes for the 1st born of a generation to reach “adulthood”, although most credible studies round it to an even “20” by adding 1 previous and 1 latter year. Generation X is SPECIFICALLY 1965-1983 (or 1964-1984, with the post-latter years being muddled into 2 generations, similar to a zodiacal cusp and one can hold claim to or identify with either and it is acceptable). For those who prefer words over numbers, GenX was born throughout the years “after the assaination of Kennedy up to the Iran-Contra Affair”.

    Millennials are those who are “coming of age at the turn of the century”. Their SPECIFIC birth dates are 1984-2002 (or 1983-2003 for the easier “20year span”, also acceptable). Or, for words over numerical span, “those born in between the Iran-Contra Affair up to either 9-11, or the post 9-11 years of the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, mass data-surveillance programs as well as the “schoolyard massacre” crisies. If you were born after the implementation of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security, you are part of the newer “to be announced” Generation (I call it the “House Cat” Generation because they never go outside and just hang on corners or in parks, as opposed to other generations).

    Videogames, computers, and the whole digital lot is the Millenials bag, especially finding new ways to use digi-tech to do things for themselves; the TRUE slacker generation that WILL (if they haven’t already) invent a lawnmower that cuts your grass for you. Unlike Greatest Gen, Boomers and Xer’s, they are not really artistic, which is evident in the re-creation of 70’s-80’s horror flicks, re-creating 19th-early 20th century fasion with a modern twist, and music is not very original with the 2 populat Millennial tunes being either a slowed down, muddled to boredom Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger to a more extravagant and “pop-py” Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera or 98°.

    The major difference of these “conflicting” reports stem from
    A. Religious identities (with Jews reaching adulthood at 13, Catholics at 15, Christians at 16, etc)
    B. Corporate consumer identity (the “Manufacturing [of] Consent” to latter GenXer’s, convincing them that they are indeed Milies, and if you HAVE heard that after ’76 you are one then you are reading the same media mags that are portraying (somewhat truthfully) that Millies are self absorbed, ego-centric, individualists and tech savvy consumers, and being that they ARE GenXer’s, they are older, more stable, therefore have more money to spend, therefore extending their consumer base which in turn adds to a higher profit margin).

    There is not much money to be made off of Generation X, as we were the generation that started our own bands, listen to local hardcore punk and thrash, dropped out of school, couldn’t relate to or comprehend Ward, Wolly, or the Beav’, and were destined to iniate the REAL revolution that the Boomers abandened to keep themselves in a lifestyle that they were accustomed to by being raised at the height of the American economy and subsidies. Personally, I was in and out of boys homes, lived in L.E.S Manhattan rocker squats, etc and there were 100s of little kids just like me, the REAL Street Kids. It is a tale that was very common throughout the 70’s to the late 90’s; a tale that could NEVER be recited by a Millie. I was born in the Winter of 79-80, I AM a GenXer

    • Interesting perspective. I tend to think millennials are later too like 1981-82 but I’ve never heard as late as 1984 that makes my birth year the start, but that would make sense as I see ppl younger than myself as “more millennial”

      • I find its best to create a sub group for the latter part of Gen X , because there isn’t a true sharp cut off point. Because I was born in 1979 at the end of Gen-X I use the term “late Gen X” Because its the transition between Gen x and Y. The Generation Y (aka Millennials) are some times recorded as early as 1977 and younger . But I would have to say a true Millennial couldn’t remember a time before the internet. And while when I was in school the “world wide web” was talked a about, it wasn’t common place in most of the students homes. The kids at my school had beepers, but very few if any carried cell phones.

        I have the both of best worlds. And it really was. I noticed the difference in attitude between my graduating high school class and just a year or two before me. We were the “idealists” and the others were more cynical. But I feel I am too old to be called Millennial and still far too young to be a true Gen Xer. So I consider myself a late Gen Xer.

    • I was born in 1979, and I do not consider myself a Gen Xer. You would have to be at least 21 when the movie ‘Reality Bites” came out and old enough to vote in the 1996 elections. Perhaps there should be another generation in between the two. Most of my peergroup in high school were the first to have cell phones and beepers, and talk about the world wide web, where just a few classes ahead of us were not. But I was a bit of a loner in school so I wasnt ahead of the current trends. I think there is an overlap. Perhaps Late Gen Xers are the pre-Y Generation.

      • There is no pre-y or y generation. This is all mumbo jumbo written by various journalists. It was put up there to confuse everyone. Gen x runs from 1961-1981. Do some research and you’ll see why these years are ALL included for Gen x. I dont believe in cusp years either cause its all BS put up there to confuse everyone. Generations run 18 years roughly and if desires you can split Gen x between A and B just like they do with the boomers…

      • Your criteria to define the generation are very arbitrary – why would you have to be 21yo when a particular movie came out? Why Reality Bites? I know it keeps coming up in these articles, but it isn’t that great of a movie. And why would you have to vote in 1996? According to your criteria, GenX ended in 1973……that’s a bit early…

      • Btw – so what if there were cell phones appearing during that time..what was your point? Gen x is the ‘middle child’ sandwiched between no technology to primitive technology. Older millennials remember primitive technology but the younger ones will not. Think about it…

      • No genx1980, it does NOT include my birth year of 1981….and I have done plenty of research on it. Only Strauss and Howe uses 1981 as the end year of Gen X. They are idiotic baby boomers who don’t understand the generations after.

    • “Videogames, computers, and the whole digital lot is the Millenials bag, especially finding new ways to use digi-tech to do things for themselves”

      Ok, i would have given Millenials “Social Media”- Facebook, Friendster, Twitter, Myspace, Instagram, Black Planet, WhatsAPP, Snapchat, and so on…Tumblr. That seems to be the calling card (or stereotype)of the Millenials. That must have been what you meant to say instead of “Computers & Video Games” because…the generation before Millenials seems to have pioneered personal computers and hence, video games, which were played on those computers. Also laptops and game consoles seem to be the staple of the generation before Millenials. It’s just my humble opinion though.

  10. Yes, thank you!! This validates mine and my fiancée’s feelings (he was born in 1979, I was born in 1980) that while technically not Gen-X’ers we are definitely NOT Millenials either. Not that being a Millenial is a bad thing but personally, being born in 1980 and “coming of age” i.e. teen years beginning in the early 90s, I identify far more with Generation X as I’m sure most of us born in the early 80s do!

  11. People who were born AFTER 1977 have lived way different than those who were born before then. For examples, those who were born between 1978-1992 enjoyed pretty much the same innovations while growing up, for examples, the old and new Internet/mobile/games. I heard that those who were born around the mid 1970s had to use print media a lot, even paper-IDs for college. No plastic IDs. Interesting.

    • Whats your point? Gen x runs from 1961-1981. The millennials declared themselves special the first year they graduated in 2000. Do more research.

  12. I personally think that the Millenial generation starts with the High School Class of 2000, so pretty much anyone born in mid-to-late 1981 to roughly the year 2000 or 2001 – maybe even somewhere around September 11th if a 20-year period is desired. Anyways, as I was a graduate of the class of 2000 I do remember that there was definitely some hype about the graduating class of the ‘new Millenium’ and I also remember having the impression that the kids even a few years older than me seemed to be different with the word ‘cynical’ coming to mind.

    • I personally think you are wrong. There may have been some hype with the “first high school graduating class of the 21st century” (i put that in hyphens since some consider 2000 to be the last year of the 20th century and not the first) but that doesn’t make those born earlier in 1981 and graduated in 1999 any different than those born just a few months later. Why not? We all have plenty of other things in common. We all reached our 21st birthdays in the 21st century, we all graduated college and started our real adult life in the 21st century. By 1999 it become all about the new millennium anyway. Nobody was into the 1990s anymore. We were getting ready to kiss it goodbye.

  13. I always get irrationally annoyed when I hear people complaining about Millenials. The way I see it, to be a millenial you should be born in the millenium. Otherwise you’re not a millenial- you’re a 90s kid.
    So yes, millenials tend to live with our parents, and complain to them when we don’t get our way, and truly believe that we are brilliant (well we are!) but that is because most TRUE millenials are under 16!

  14. very interesting as im born in 86 and detest being referred to as a millennial or Gen Y. Im Gen x. It was determined when running for class president that we were Gen X….xtra special, extra talented, xtra driven etc etc at least that’s how we ran the campaign to win 🙂

  15. I find that the only generations worthy of a name are the WW2 generation (a fast-disappearing group, but as of today still in existence) and the Baby Boomers. They had major defining attributes: the first as people who experienced the Great Depression and a world war firsthand, the second as the largest generation of the 20th Century and one whose experiences and values have massively impacted society through sheer weight of numbers. After the Boomers, categorizing people by generation has seemed to involve nitpicking points that could apply to anyone and overlap in many ways, and involves nothing that really makes any difference to society as a whole.

  16. Millenials were born in 1982 I believe. They declared themselves different and special when they graduated high school in 2000. They were the kids of the new millenium. I remember this first hand as my brother graduated high school in 2000. They called themselves the kids of the new millenium. .anyone else remember this?

    • I remember it. I was born in 1981 and graduated in 2000 and I don’t recall anyone in my class or those born in 1982 calling themselves the kids of the new millennium…or millennials. In fact, the principal even said at our graduating ceremony that we are the first class of the new millennium or the last graduating class of the millennium…however we choose to look at it. Many top sources do put 2001 as the start of the new millennium, not 2000. So it really is those born in 1983 that marks the millennial generation.

  17. Thank god I am a baby boomer and if I am lucky I will be dead and gone. I have a son born in 1976 ( step-son) and Have a son born Sept 11, 1995 and to be completely honest this si call gen Xers and Millie’s are destroying the our great country1 and by the time gen X ers reach my age China will be ruling this country. Great American life is heading to a deadly end. I guess that is what we get by putting the gen X ers on AD/HD medication and the schools stopped teaching our kids. Schools teach our kids how to pass State Education Test so they get there funds from the government. The end of the baby boomers was 1964. Gen X ers started in 1965. To what ever yr you guys wants to put on it.à I was a kid in the 60’s and a teenager in the 70’s . I turned 18 in 1978 we did it better and starter then this genX ers or milliesà generation . We worked harder and built a good life for ours kidsà and our kids ended up with their hands held out for free money and most of the Millie kids would not hit a lick to work hard like we did. I feel sorry for anyone who was born after 1965. Yes your gen X ers and Millie’s might have book smarts but no common sense or street smarts like us boomers because we played outside when we were kids not in front of a TV or computer screen. Yes I am an old fart now and proud of it.

    • Well Pat, hate to but your bubble but you can’t lump all Xers together I for one worked hard since I was 15 yrs old until I joined service, worked hard, retired, raising my son, and finished college with a BA degree. And I don’t understand what you mean about TV I grew up without being glued to a television we went outside and played and stayed outside till the street lights were on. But I see you typed this on a computer screen. Lol.

  18. Anybody who thinks people born in 1981 had a drastically different upbringing than people born in 1984 is a complete and utter total moron. People born in those years had virtually identical upbringings. They hung out together, dated each other, and experienced the same changes in their life.

    • I kind of disagree, Jonatahn – Born in 1981 means you were nearly a teenager when Nirvana and the whole grunge thing happened, and were in middle school or early high school when the internet blew up. For those born in 1984 all of that was elementary school. That’s a big difference.

      • I was born in 84 and Nirvana was a huge deal to me. Maybe because of my older brother who was born in 78… but I was not into boy bands and britney spears… shit like that pisses me off.

      • Those born in 1981 would have been 9-10 years old in 1991 when Nirvana came out and the grunge thing started. That is not nearly a teenager. They would have still been in elementary school as well. Those born in 1981 didn’t turn 13 until 1994 and they wouldn’t have entered junior high school until that year and wouldn’t have entered high school until 1996. Those born in 1984 would have been in MIDDLE school in 1996.

    • Well….someone born in 1981 is going to remember about 4+ years of the 1980s, someone born in 1984 is probably only going to remember 1989. Given how different the 80s were from the 90s, I would dare to say that there is a difference. I was born in 1981 and was the last birth year (I believe) to own a record player (as they officially because obsolete in 1988 when cassettes took over), I’m the youngest birth year to remember the fall of communism, I’m the last class of the millenium, last year or two to live as an adult (well at college) with only a landline and no email address……one of my close friends was born in 1985 and we remember completely different music/shows on tv when we were kids. I remember Facts of Life, Hogan Family, Small Wonder, Charles in Charge, etc. all of the classic 80s shows, she does not. I remember “hair metal
      and 80s pop like Samantha Fox and Tiffany. All superficial stuff until you add it up, and our childhoods were pretty different.

      • I was born in ’79. I notice a big difference between myself and say someone born in 1985. But early ’80s babies are pretty much similar. IMO, 1985 and younger people seem like the true Y Generation. I believe there should be late Gen X or GEN X-Y or whatever they want to call it. Some place in between.

      • I was born in early 1980 and this is how i see it. Firstly i wanna know how someone born in 79 would have anything to say when their lives were of direct contact to someone born in 80 or 81 just like how its mentioned that someone born in 80 had direct contact with 82 84 ect the reverse applies as well. I agree with gen x dates going from 61-81 and referred to as the 13th generation. People born in late 70s early 80s are part of said generation by default. Generations by definition span 20 years because also of what era or time they span over. It is a time in our lives and we each witness 4 turnings in our lifetime assuming we all live a full life. Read about generations if you are more interested

      • Sorry, but I don’t think any of that is reasonable. However you slice things up now will be completely obsolete twenty years from now. So the fact that you can’t even really make a convincing case for a ‘major split’ between ’81 and ’84 now makes it rather unlikely that it will ever be the case. Whatever differences existed during that three year gap had a greater presence early-on, and then became increasingly insignificant. If you take two individuals (one born in ’81 and the other in ’84), and you focused on differences that existed when one person was 8 and the other was 5, then the differences would be extreme. At 11 and 8, the differences would be pretty significant as well. At 14 and 11 the differences start to shrink (albeit with very important differences still worth noting). By 17 and 14, those differences have been greatly reduced, and are largely limited to the way high school juniors and seniors treat freshman and sophomores. But on a personal level, by 18 and 15 you have the phenomenon of senior boys dating freshman girls. Once both groups are well into their 20s, there are no significant differences.

        I certainly don’t mean this as a personal insult, but I am unfazed by people that tell me they ‘remember’ the fall of Communism (or another major event) when they were 8 years old — at least not in any substantive way. That would include actually knowing what Communism is, having a cursory understanding what that meant in terms of geopolitics, and having a decent grasp of the conditions (at least as far as news reports go) prior to the fall of Communism. For some reason people think there’s some nobility in attaching themselves to major events that occurred before they could possibly have been impacted by them in any notable way. I see this phenomenon playing out now with 9/11, where people who were just 8 years old in 2001 are pretending they were seriously impacted by it. I think it’s safe to say that anybody who was in early grade school at the time was old enough to have some recognition of 9/11, but belonged to the group least impacted by it. The tendency to exaggerate or embellish experiences seems to be pretty ingrained in many people. Researchers study this phenomenon by having subjects play the telephone game, and the same thing occurs every time — by the time the last person repeats the story it is either: 1. a completely different story, 2. highly exaggerated, or 3. tweaked so much that it falls somewhere in between. It is never the original story. So imagine what happens when somebody tries to recall something after days, weeks, or many years. That’s why eyewitness testimony is often completely unreliable, and most reports of personal experiences are markedly different than what actually happened.

        We also have to consider a long term perspective on this. History doesn’t get sliced up into little portions like this. The more time that passes, the more we start remembering history as different eras that were marked by drastic change (the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, etc.). We wouldn’t go back to the 19th Century and view people born three years apart as growing up in different generations. So this topic will probably go down as one of the most useless things to discuss.

        I’m not saying we should just group everybody together — after all, we are a product of our times. But what I am doing is challenging your idea that the little superficial things ‘add up’ and matter. I don’t see it like that. I think they are offset by more important things, and if we’re going to slice up the mid-late 20th Century into generations then we should consider that.

        Finally, I suppose there are elements of this that rely on an individual’s perception. If somebody born in 1981 was accustomed to hanging out with a slightly older crowd (as many people do) then they would probably see your perspective. But if somebody hung out with a slightly younger crowd (as many people also do), they wouldn’t relate to what you’re saying at all. I also didn’t mean to call anyone a ‘moron’ for seeing things differently. If I could go back I wouldn’t have typed that,

      • Understanding generations takes practice, i do agree that there is no significant differences between people that are born from 77 to 81 or from 81 -85 – not until you hit the 5 year mark will you notice a difference but this is only – as you mentioned – if the person hung out with a younger or older crowd. You are correct in saying that someone born in these years couldnt possibly have completely grasped the meaning of a major historical event but, said person can refer back to it later as an adult and and realize “so thats what that was about” its a pretty significant memory. I remember the wall going down people were happy – and of course, the amount of graffiti that was on it the wall. I understand completely what that was about today and what the importance of it is – what it symbolizes. On the flip side i can also say a 20 year old at that time probably didnt know what that was about till a few years down the road or probably never – it all depends on how interested one is.

        Realizing that schooling and such practices of teaching changes over time as the old ones retire or die and they are subsequently replaced by younger teachers. This eventually serves as a major impact to the students. There are so many factors you can look into. Genertions come in waves over a certian period of time and its really that simple. To understand it fully youd have to look into every nook and cranny. If you have the time, please do.

      • Wow Jonathan CF calm down you are taking this too seriously. But first of all, it is NOT acceptable to diminish people for not having enough stake in 9/11 or….sorry, I’m from the ‘burbs here and lived here in NYC since ’99, what exactly was your problem with people who were 8 at the time? They didn’t lose enough during it to warrant participating in commemorating the events of that day? I…I don’t get your point.

        Just like I don’t get your point when I bring up communism. My point – if you weren’t so anxious and angry where there is nothing to get angry about – is that there are many things that people NOW are saying “oh that is GenX” where they were just things pertaining to people before.

        Also, as per your “20 years from now” comment…..that is the whole point of this block. Different people keep shifting the generational boundaries precisely because they aren’t looking at them in retrospect and have some sort of agenda. Right now the anti-millennial agenda seems keen on beefing up the #s so it can simultaneously market to them and write a multitude of articles bashing them. As soon as “millennial” is considered a cool thing, they will shrink the year-range. I guarantee.

      • And @ Jonathan CF – I referenced “superficial” things because….let’s face it – in 1980s and 1990s middle class America, we had it really good. The vast majority of us did not experience hardship, which makes it REALLY hard to divide people out based on societal happenings. there were no wars or depressions or what not…..

      • I don’t really care about those who make a split between those born in 1981 vs those born in 1984. That is after all a 3 years age difference. I get pissed at those who make a major split between those born in 1981 and those born in 1982. Like someone born at 11:59 PM on December 31, 1981 is going to be so different from someone born just a minute later at 12:00 AM on January 1, 1982. Get real. There are so very few differences between someone born in 1981 and someone born in 1982.

    • I think the big thing here is people making it out like someone born in 1981 is radically different than someone born just a year later in 1982. That is completely false. Most sources I have seen has put 1981 within the birth years of the Millennial generation. I have also seen those born between 1980-83 called “Xennials,” as they have the attributes of both Gen Y and Gen X. https://www.good.is/articles/generation-xennials But to call someone born in 1981 full blown Gen X is just plain wrong and stupid. I was born in 1981 and I have more in common with someone born in say 1984 than someone born between 1965 and 1975. Heck, those born in the late 70s were always the big kids to me. I certainly have plenty in common with people born just a year later than me in 1982. William Strauss and Neil Howe (both baby boomers) both really tick me off.

  19. I think the best way to split it up is the definition of a millennial as I read it… you were born before 2000 but came of age in the new millennium. Thus if you came of age prior to 2000 then you were Gen X or earlier. Simple. Now anyone born after 2000 would fall into the next generation.

    • You’re just arbitrarily choosing cut-off points based on some highly subjective definition of ‘coming-of-age’ — as if ages aren’t abstract categories and everyone grows, ‘comes of age’, and develops in a completely synchronized fashion. This is even more ridiculous:

      “But I would have to say a true Millennial couldn’t remember a time before the internet. And while when I was in school the “world wide web” was talked a about, it wasn’t common place in most of the students homes. The kids at my school had beepers, but very few if any carried cell phones.”

      As if people born in 1985 have absolutely no recollection of anything before the internet (not likely at all), or widespread use of cell phones (even more unlikely). The only person using reasonable standards here is Rachel Gall. PEW research does report those groupings:

      “Pew Research has created a tidy series of interactive graphics to describe the demographic characteristics of American generational cohorts from the the Silent Generation (born 1928 – 1945) through the Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1980) [this is a disputed age range – a more recent report from Pew suggests that Gen Xers were born from 1965-1976), and the Millennial Generation (born 1981+ [now defined as being born between 1977 and 1992]).”

      The only real debate is whether or not people born in the late 70s can be considered ‘millennials’ — and I really don’t have an opinion on it (it’s a toss up). People born in the mid 90s or later are certainly not millennials. Personally, I think a main problem here starts with the Baby Boomers — where ‘1964’ is probably a stretch (the ‘boom’ and decline in birth rates appears to be arbitrarily selected as well). I think the baby boomers were a lot smaller (in years) than the other generations, and perhaps an adjustment of that would cause everything else to fall into concomitant categories. It seems like a defining moment of the BB generation was Woodstock ’69, and so perhaps it would be reasonable to say, “If you couldn’t attend or appreciate Woodstock then you weren’t a Baby Boomer”. I think that would be apt. Of course that would obviously remove people born in the early 60s from that category.

      • Not really arbitrary (unfair), because 21 is usually considered the official start of adult life. Although Scientists concur that the brain becomes fully mature around the age of reason- 25 years old , or so. I think the idea of having a “Late Gen-X” would solve the issue for those born in the late 1970s, and early 80s. As there is less divide between people born between the late 70s and early 80s than there is those born in the late 1960s to late 1970s. And also, I believe Gen-X could start as early as 1961. The Baby Boom really cut off a lot earlier than ’64.

      • I agree with that a true millennial can’t remember a time before the internet. I was born in 1983, which fall within the millennial age group, however, I was brought up as a late Gen x-er along with my older brother born in 1980. I remember before the internet typing papers on a type writer, having a rotary telephone. I was truly independent, supported myself, had my own place at 19. Owned my home at 21. I believe the cut off should be people born after 1985. My wife was born in 1985, and I can notice the difference in people’s attitudes who were born after that. Major difference (decline) in initiative, and sense of entitlement.

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  21. Ugh, how I hate it when people get their dates wrong and cause others to believe this rubbish. The original or traditional definition of Generation X, coined by Copeland, was the years 1965-1985. Anybody born 1986 and on were the generation Y’ers. I’m sick of sources (some) meddling with the dates and coming up with all of these crazy new numbers in order to fulfill their agendas and beef up numbers for the millennials. Every other generation was around 20 years with little argument, why is it so hard to get generation X right? Geez…..

      • Millennials are those born in the mid 80s onward. Those born in the early 80s are not millennials. Millennials are the 20 somethings of today so i do not agree that class post 96 is anywhere near millennial. Did we even know what millennials would be like back then? No

      • Because those born at the beginning (65) or end range late 70’s early 80’s.. are going to fall MUCH more into the next generation (or previous). There is overlap. We’re talking a 20 year spread here.. Someone born 20 years before you is NOT going to experience near the same things you will and vice versa. It’s not a black and white thing except for those born right in the MIDDLE of these generation “ranges”.

    • 85 is not a gen x, Copland coined that years before then but too much has changed during that time. That range of years is so outdated it doesn’t apply no more. This generation x age range was changed back in the 80s, its a completely different generation. I personally think generations shouldn’t go 20 years, that’s too long. Shouldn’t be more then 15 years or less then 10 imo.

      BTW I know you’re the person whose been saying these same things on YouTube. Let it go.

      • Sir, I’m associated with several generational theorists and myself study american cultural history and there is no right or wrong answer when it pertains to this issue, however, based on studies, I have come to the conclusion that those years are most ideal imo. Also, Copeland is not the only source that uses those dates, some like Transunion, Harvard, The Telegraph, most Asian countries, multiple universities and other corporations and sources still use this date and some others use 1966-1985.
        Also, if you have seen my messages elsewhere than that is fine as I’m supposed to spread my knowledge to those that might not agree with the common definition of Gen X that is used today and many seem to relate. I want people to be aware that there are other theories out there if they are offended by the new “millennial” label that has been slapped onto them recently, that have more historical support than some of the wild theories employed today.
        I just find it very hard to classify someone born in the 1980s, especially early 1980s be in the same classification as someone born in the 1990s imo. Every other generation before there was never much confusion or arguments about the typical 20 year generational span. Again, there is no right or wrong answers to this but I strongly feel that those born in 80-85 might not fully remember the 80s, but still remember a time before the pre-digital age and were involved in pre-y culture.

      • People mention technology as a rule. But take into consideration, people still are using older technology , and they can be of any age group. My house still house a rotary phone. Rotary phones were mostly out of use by the time I was born in 1979. But people still use them. I also notice another thing: The Vinyl Record Resurgence. In general, people under the age of 40 are more likely to be in this group that likes to collect vinyl records, turntables and all of this “dinosaur” technology. People in their 50s and older especially, typically have much less interest in vinyl records and are more likely to listen to CDs or most other mediums which are now considered “passe” and “cheesy”. But younger people today like to listen to Records or listen to their Phones . The Solid Gen Xer’s are not record fans.

  22. As a late 1975…I honestly relate more with millennial a and have some traits as GenX…I feel that 1975-1980 is caught inbetween

  23. Pingback: Millennial Generation rushes to embrace vasectomies as a “screw you” statement to the Bankers | THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY WATCHDOG

  24. My personal opinion is that anyone born between about 1978 and 1985 (or so) could legitimately fall on either side of X or Y, depending on how they processed the technology boom and other major societal happenings. Let me explain:

    I was born in 1983. I remember a world with rotary phones, and I was taught what the Internet was and how to use it in 7th grade science class. Before that, computers were for word processing and playing number munchers and Carmen San Diego. In health class, we were taught phone and dating etiquette, and were shown videotapes from the 70s that explained our hormone changes and how babies were formed and birthed.

    Fast forward… freshman year of college. 9/11 happened, I got my first cell phone, and I was totally blown away by the concept of text messaging. I remember saying to my cousin, “so I type it on here, and it shows up on your phone?” Lol… Our social networking in college was “College Club” (anybody else remember that?). Facebook came around my last year of school and was, at that time, strictly for college kids.

    So my point is that, while the tech boom was in full swing when I was coming of age, it was still very new. I grew up in a world where, if you weren’t at home, you were busy living and anyone wishing to talk to you just had to wait until you were settled at home. And even then, there were certain formalities, e.g., you didn’t call people around dinnertime.

    I also grew up in a world where the USA was untouchable. Terrorism wasn’t a word you heard everyday. We were America, and all of us took for granted that certain things just didn’t happen over here. When I saw the 2nd tower fall on live TV, I was sure I was watching a movie, because that was impossible. Immediately after that, walking out of my dorm room felt completely different, because I couldn’t take my safety for granted anymore.

    However, while I and pretty much anyone born around the same time as me can remember living in a secure, low tech world, it seems different people my age processed these changes differently.

    Social media, for me and many of my friends, is a networking necessity that’s more tolerated than indulged in. I don’t expect anyone to care that I’m at the gym, am eating a visually attractive meal, or even out having a good time. I’d rather be fully where I am–giving my attention to the task/people around me–than to spend half that time snapping and posting pics under the assumption that you care. I live for my own satisfaction, not for the entertainment of others. I realize that for someone who identifies with the millennial generation, I probably sound pretty lame. That’s fine.

    BUT I also have lots of peers who live for social networking, post pics of every cute outfit, makeup job, cocktail, plate of food, and semi-interesting thing they do. And there’s an audience for it. I’m usually not interested, but many are. And for many my age, an affinity for technology often serves them well. Some are entrepreneurs and bloggers who depend on the Internet for marketing and exposure, so they have to stay current. But even many of those for whom tech savviness is their bread and butter see it less as a social need than as a business tool.

    That was all my long way of saying that folks right around my age (and I do mean right around) grew up in “simpler times” but came of age when the world was quickly changing. So I think the generation with which one feels more connected depends on which common values the person latched on to and chose to perpetually integrate into their lifestyle.

    • This comment encapsulates my entire argument and view on the subject of x or y. Thank you for a well articulated and thought out comment. We were young in the 80s but we were aware of a decade that most millennials can only now experience through the technology they are constantly connected to.

  25. This is @ steve. Who mentioned that when the “millennial generation is considered cool everyone will want to identify millennial”. Even if these imaginary circumstances took place, being born in 1980, frankly and naturally speaking id still not identify millennial.

  26. Being born in ’82 and graduating High School in 2001 I’m often lumped in with millennials but don’t feel any kind of affiliation with them. I joined the Marines the summer after graduation and the next 8 years of my life were spent experiencing war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems sad and a little insulting that almost every article I’ve come across doesn’t even mention the wars and their impact on the two generations. It makes me feel very disassociated from American Culture since no one seems to either recognize or remember that a part of their cohort had to grow up fast in the face of world reality.

  27. I was born in 1983, I also hate getting lumped into millennials. My parents didn’t get a computer or the internet until my senior year in highschool. I have a pay as you go phone and don’t see the point of watching movies on my phone and paying a high bill every month. Never had a Facebook or MySpace account. I don’t hate technology but Can’t stand how we have turned into such a shallow society. People spending hours each day taking selfies, must look at phone every 3 minutes because it’s the end of the world if you miss a phone call and who can get the most Facebook friends. It’s not just millennials because I see gen xers and baby boomers that are just as bad. I feel part of that lost age group because not old enough to be generation x but I had a different childhood compared to people born in the late 80’s and on.

  28. This is SO fascinating! Ok, so I guess I am on the bubble but I thought Millennials were like today’s 20-somethings. I am a 30-something born in 1978. My entire childhood was in the 80’s, my entire teen and high school years were in the 90’s, and I turned 21 in the year 2000. I guess technically I am a late GenXer/early Millennial. I feel that I do fall in that category of the best of both worlds. I did not grow up with technology but it was and is something that is easy to grasp but INDEPENDENCE is the major theme here! I don’t know what it is but it must be the GenX side coming out but all we want/wanted is to be left alone, let us figure it out and we never went to our parents with our problems. I guess its a kind of Guns-n-Roses meets Kurt Cobain mixed with a little Weezer. We should have our own “generation” really. We see our 40-something and older GenX counterparts as different, their teen years were in the 70’s and 80’s. There is defiantly a difference between them and the Millennials and even us, those in that grey area.

    • Interesting as I would classify you as a Gen Xer. Those born from 76-85 is an interesting area but should be regarded as late Gen Xers (some sources do) rather than early Yers. Those born in the years 86-89 fit the title of “early Gen Y” as alot of them did not associate themselves or consciously get into the Gen X culture (too young) that dominated the early and mid 90s (90-97) for teens and pre-teens alike that defined Gen X culture.
      The traditional generation period of 20 years would sum up the generational period in general, ignoring the few differences in between. It’s interesting to notice a few differences I and others discover culturally (experiences) between those born in early-mid 80s to those born in the late 80s, and why some sources out there actually split them totally off (yes not everyone uses 1982-2000). For instance, MTV, punk rock, alternative music, slacker culture, rebel attitude, similar political views, etc. defines ’65-85 altogether in general, while a different thing could be said to define ’86-06 (especially the technology and music).
      It’s interesting also to notice just the taste of music difference (or those that identified or remembered) between those in the early-mid 80s to those in the late 80s. ’85 seems to be the last group of people that consciously got into the latter end of the alternative rock, punk scene that exploded in the early-mid 90s in their early teens, while those born in ’86 and on, less identified with that type of rock music and culture (with a few exceptions, mainly within ’86). Even the way they viewed other cultural significances such as MTV during their upbringing is a little different. Those born in the late 80s (more so ‘88,89) remember it more as a talk/reality tv station while ’80-85 and above can clearly remember it more as a musically-dominated station back in the day. Just some unique cultural shifts within such a small time frame and kind of adds up with the theory I list below concerning the period of a generation. “MTV Generation” is synonymous with Gen X by the way.

      First 5 years = transition from previous generation
      Next 10 years = core of the generation
      Last 5 years = transition period into next.
      Those born in the late 80s are not core millennial, but rather the transitional period into next gen. displaying a few traits from the previous generation while adapting and identifying easier to core Y, especially as they aged. Interesting study nonetheless.

      • I don’t know if that’s accurate. Someone born in the late 1970s and early 1980s would come of age around the year 2000. Hence the term mellineals. Those born between 1977-1983 would be the earliest mellineals, or late gen x. But definitely Not heart of gen x/mtv. Born in 1979 and MTV was already passe by the time and was in high school

      • Keep in mind, the word millennial has undergone a transformation in recent years, as millennial originally meant someone born in the 2000s (just ask the mother’s who were giving “millennial” babies at the time) and lately became synonymous with Gen Y. But more importantly, I would never consider anyone born in the 80s as core Gen X, but rather the last leg of it all, sealing the end of the “rebel, independent, MTV attitude” generational period as a whole with people born in the mid 1980s being the final group to display elements of “X culture” or “X attitude” (culturally, socially, politically, technology, etc.) that can be somewhat identified with core Xers as opposed to identifying with Gen Yers (who grew up around facebook, MySpace, iPods, etc.).
        I just have a hard time fitting someone your age into Y, after talking with others born in ’79, but always curious to hear other observations. There’s no right or wrong answers but I agree with the generational theorists that hold to the classical standard using the 20 year period as general rule of thumb for defining a generation as a whole which can be dissected into three sub groups from there.

  29. My sister got me a box set of the MTV cartoon from the 90s Daria. I always thought she was so (late) GenX, and am scandalized to see she might be a millenial. We might need to shift the generation stereotypes a bit, because millenials weren’t supposed to be in HS when the internet was new and black lipstick and annukah crosses were cool.

    • Steve, technically that is true. According to my observations, most people I hear from born in the early and mid 80s remember and relate alot to to the Gen X culture (mtv, etc.) they experienced back in the 90s during their teen years and early teen years, not texting on cell phones. And even though AOL established itself around 96, most did not have internet until the 2000s, let alone alone computers, spread across various income levels. Just another reason why I and some others feel those born in the early and mid 80s should not be lumped into the millennial category, two different upbringings and experiences from those born in the 90s.

      • I am atypical in that I didn’t watch MTV. or participate in “my generation” stuff. I did watch CMT (Country Music Television), preferred older music artists (Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, etc) and I didn’t care about any of the trends related or concepts of my peers. Except what everyone was talking about when I was a Freshman in high school: “The world wide web”. Being born in 1979, I didn’t relate to the show “Friends” either. Friends is the epitome of “GEN X”. Those born between 1965-1975 would be the prime demographic of that show. But in Fall of 1994, I was entering the 10th grade and the idea of living on my own in New York and paying rent seemed rather far off to me, even though realistically it wasn’t. The TV show “Friends” and “Reality Bites” are hallmarks of the Generation Xers. And if you were younger than a Senior in high school when those came out, it wasn’t readily relateable. The first “Real World” episode aired when I was 12 years old. These people seemed way grown up to me. I realize that I am still lumped in with the tail end of Gen X, but I sure didn’t feel that myself or my peer groups were part of those definitive moments

      • @ Meade – I think that this is borderline personal taste stuff as opposed to generational. I LOVED Real World (especially London) after season 1 (NY), and also like Friends, maybe the idea was more relatable to me because I was from the NYC suburbs and we frequently did day trips to NYC.

        Personally I hated Reality Bites, maybe I was too young, but I also hated the soundtrack (was then and still am stuck in 80s pop and rock), and I thought Winona Ryder was AWESOME and the pinnacle of coolness in Heathers and Beetlejuice and really did not want to see her with a boy haircut wearing flannel. And she also reminded me of my floundering at that point not-so-grown-up cousin which wasn’t a role model for me. I identified more with professional adults and was dying to grow up and get a real job and do something important like the people on Murphy Browne or Melrose place, rather than be all disillusioned like Reality Bites. Personally, even though I was anti-establishment in a way, the thought of owning your own house and being a hot shot professional was way too appealing.

        Just a few examples of why I think some of the things people mention here are more examples of personal preference than generational differences.

  30. So weird question, but what defines your generation? Is it the year you were born, when you were a teenager, when you are an adult (20’s), when your an adult (30’s), all of the above?

    • The problem is, it really varies. People often talk about the ’60s Generation- the Liberal hippies. A majority of them were born between 1944 and 1950. So they would have been in their late teens/early 20s during the late 1960s.

      To me a generation is when you turn about 21 years of age – becoming an adult officially or around that time. Although most Scientists say we reach full adulthood around age 26. But I think there are cross overs. According to the Bible a generation can be 25 years, 40 years, or even 75 years- which is about a lifetime span.

    • This is probably the most important question. In my opinion, childhood – college years should be the main years to look at. I think it is odd that so many people here and elsewhere want to define a generation by when they are completely done growing up, because at that point, they are just experiencing the same exact things other adults of all age ranges are experiencing. For example, if millennial starts in the early 80s, you can’t even say suffering during the recession is a millennial thing, because you’d have about 5 years of millenials that graduated before the meltdown, and maybe the first 2-3 years of those were experiencing the recession the same way as any other adult.

    • Very good question as someone else had highlighted above. Back in the old days and with many ancient cultures, before there was so much change within a short period of time, it was predominantly a numbers approach based on the time you were born and 20, 40, 70 years was a typical tool of measurement. Since today, with change becoming more frequently prevalent within just a few years, some (including myself) still use the 20 yr time-frame, but with the additions of co-horts and bi-horts to serve as footnotes. And in my opinion, 20 years is still very effective in defining a period, even coupled with some differences, as I noticed when analyzing prior generations, 20 years was fairly accurate assessment on defining the underlying mindsets and culture of a people within that period of time and how it shaped them going forward.
      My personal opinion on this is that a generation is shaped by your upbringing, or perhaps during the period when you were born. This in general requires a very deep analysis on the subject, but in short, it is usually based on the experiences growing up as that tends to shape a person as a whole and their outlook on life. It is true that Gen X is a more self-reliant and independent generation, with a distrust in large institutions, etc. compared to Gen Y or the “millennials” who prefer a more hands-on dependent socio-liberal approach to situations. And this outlook on life still resonates with them til this very day, all based on their cultural and socio-economic experiences growing up. That is the essence of Gen X and what brings them altogether at the end of the day – not which cartoons they each watched, or toys they played with, all that talk misses the point.

      Even technology can play a part in all of this, as its interesting to note those born around the early and mid 80s (80-85) did not have cell phones in high school, but those in the late 80s (more so 88, 89) were the first to have such, even though the number recorded is overwhelmingly lower than today’s statistics or high-schoolers. Those born in the early-mid 80s did not grow up with Facebook, Twitter, etc – however, Millennials (core millenials) did, and so on. Although people of all age groups today engage in things like social media, the title still belongs to Gen Y and “Z” for that matter. These are just more reasons why me and some other cultural historians and generational theorists still have a hard time aggregating ’78-85 into Gen Y (even though our theory has become the minority in recent years since most – but not all, the big media outlets decided to run with the 82-00 theory)

  31. Good points all! Ok, so here’s the test… If you weren’t old enough to ever see Beverly Hills 90210 you are a Millennial 😉

    • Again, it is important that we separate personal preferences from generational trends, even though personal preference does matter to a certain extent, but not as much as cultural trends. I’ve seen some interesting comments above, but some of them still miss the point on this research and attempt to minimize Gen X based on subtle points. It doesn’t matter if someone 5 years older or 5 years younger watched different cartoons growing up, or played with different toys, etc. For example, someone from ’66 will have a different exposure in that department than someone from ’73 – but we all agree that those two years are still Gen X. We need to maintain our focus on both cultural similarities, socio-economics, political mindsets, technological experiences, and other attributes, and find commonalities within that time frame – which still can be dissected into splinter groups or co-horts within that 20 year time frame.

      It’s also important to remember that Gen X was the first generation to experience technology (video games, internet, mobile phones, cd’ s, etc.) – not Gen Y. Gen Y was born into advanced technology even though the first segment of Gen Y can still remember a short slice of time before advanced technology or the “digital age” – which coincides with the theory of adding of cohorts and bi-horts into a generational time span.

      And to be honestly speaking, when addressing Gen Y, I even notice and can bifurcate those born in the late 80s from those born in the mid and late 90s but can still lump them together in one single generational category at the end of the day.

  32. Great article – it’s still generating discussion over 2 years later!

    Born in 1986. I don’t remember ever hearing the term “Millennial” when I was growing up. Not until at least the end of high school or beginning of college, and at that time it was my understanding this referred to the then up-and-coming generation. Now, I realize that many if not most publications classify someone my age as a Millennial. I still, however, for the most part cling to the Gen X label. Here’s why:

    I’ve always identified more as Gen X from the time I understood what a generation was.
    My parents are both earlier Baby Boomers, born around 1950, a good 10 years older than most of my peers. This affected a lot of my influences.
    My older sister, born in ’83, also contributed to those influences.
    I remember hearing “Gen Y” before the term Millennial came about, and it was a similar comparison to what this article goes into.
    Though I was young, I grew up listening to REM and Nirvana and grunge music, remember the OKC bombing, Clinton’s election, H.W. Bush’s, and many events around that time. They shaped who I am.
    I’ve also tended to date GenX’ers, and have trouble identifying with many Millennials in that way. They look at the world differently, they “feel the Bern,” whereas I do not. One example there would be my most recent girlfriend’s 20-year-old daughter, who “fixed” my iPhone for me in about 15 seconds, when I couldn’t figure it out for weeks. (It was pretty funny!) I’m actually closer in age to her than I am her mother, but that difference between her growing up in a world that always had the internet, and cell phones, etc. I think separates us in more significant ways.

    All in all, despite some of the dogmatic ideas that “No, generations HAVE TO BE EXACTLY EIGHTEEN YEARS!!” I think the lines are blurred in this case. Are 80s children Gen Y? Are they late Gen X? Or Millennial? Probably a little bit of all 3. And it probably has more to do with the environment in which you were brought up than a static date or any one single historical event.

    • They are saying now that Gen Z is just now coming of age as the oldest ones are turning 20 this year. They are saying GenZer’s were born in 1996 and later so that 20 year old who fixed your iPhone is a GenZer, not a millennial. They are saying these GenZer are just now starting to hit the workplace and colleges snd the millennials are now turning into their 30’s. So the millennials, are no longer the new kids on the block.

    • Interesting comment. I was born in winter of ’85 and remember growing up in Gen X culture – I can even remember parts of the late ’80s for that matter. I definitely remember my “tween” years which was around the mid-90’s as me and some of my other peers got into the whole “grunge” music thing there for a short while; even dressed the part with the flannels and the jeans on, along with a Metallica shirt underneath (my parents hated every minute of it). I remember listening to bands at that time while I was in middle school around ’96, such bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Silverchair, Offspring, No FX, Collective Soul, and other mid-90’s bands and music. I think around ’98 or so, the whole “grunge” era had pretty much lost most of its steam, especially compared to its peak in the early 90’s and that is when other types of music genre’s were beginning to take over the headlines such as rap, hip-hop and others.

      I too have a hard time identifying with the millennials as we didn’t have any cell phones, iPads, iPods or any of that other junk growing up and it was normal to call a girl on a house line and first having to deal with her parents/siblings, or wait all night for a call and come to find out its just another snake-oil salesmen on the line since there was no caller ID.
      I remember the average home didn’t have internet until the late 90’s and early-mid 2000’s (we got ours around ’99/00) and I certainly did not grow up poor either.
      The culture we grew up in was much different compared to these 20 somethings and teens of today as so much has changed just within this time frame. The fashion was also different as it was cool to wear baggy jeans back in our day for teens and 20 somethings, while today I see many young males wearing the tight pants and rocking the “metrosexual” look which would have never flyed back in the 1990’s and early ’00s – you would have got your ass kicked. Also, political correctness didn’t have such a stronghold in our youth as it does today, as you could actually get away with some pretty nasty name calling. I also am not “feeling the Bern” either.

      Growing up, I never heard the term “millennial” but I definitely remember hearing Generation X, especially from some the music I listened too (Limp Bizkit actually did a song about it when I was around 15/16), “Degeneration X” for all you wrestling buffs out there, MTV, and other places where the term was used throughout the 90’s (both early and late)

      I know their are some sources out their that stretch out Gen X to 1985 at the latest, but a majority of them seem to end in 1980 or 1981, which I find funny according to my own personal experience, since most of my cousins were born around ’79-’81 and we used to trade music cd’s with each other back around the mid-90’s (listened to the same music), so it’s not like were all that different culturally. However, try getting any of us to trade with a millennial who wants to trade their Justin Bieber CD – probably not happening.

      I do believe that ’70s kids are the core Generation X, but as someone mentioned above, I believe the early-mid eighties people are the final remnant of it all as I feel we are definitely not millennials.

      Just my thoughts….

  33. Everyone is born on a different timeline, therefore their experiences are different. My parents, born 1948 and 1950 had profoundly different lives and experiences. But they’re both Boomers. Generations take shape based on the “meat” of a generation. For example, Kurt Cobain was born in the middle of Generation X and is a quintessential Xer. But late Boomers/early Xers and late Xers/early Millenials are part of two generations and will reflect that in a multitude of ways. I myself was born 1981 and graduated high school in 2000. I’m right on the border. I was a teenager in inner city Dallas in the mid to late 90’s. My experiences in this time are that of an Xer: violence, alienation, etc. These experiences made me very hard-edged. But on the other hand my early childhood was a classic Millenial: Boomer parents, sheltered, a sense that my life would be better than my parents. Other examples of mixed generation sentiments include late Silent era beat poets and musicians, like Ginsberg, Dylan, Zappa, Hendrix, etc. They helped usher in the Boomer’s era but were not Boomers themselves. Boomers like the Ramones, Dead Boys, Talking Heads, Patti Smith helped usher in a new era in the late 1970’s. The Generational Theory is an inexact science. Some people will feel out of place in their own generation. But I think the theory proposed by Howe and Strauss is pretty close to the truth. For me, class of 2000 that lived in Dallas and Chicago, those ahead of me seemed much more individualistic, violent and interesting. Those behind me in school seemed much more sheep-like, conformist and bland. I think class of 2000 is a dividing line. But it’s quite complicated.

  34. I was born in March of 1979 — I was in college in the 2000’s.. Up until about 2004-2005 ish (you know the 5-6+ year plan). However, I think those on the “border” of generations can fall into either — I could relate to Gen X or Gen Y/Millennials — I happen to fall in with technology, progressive thinking, yet very logical. I tend to game a lot, and hold a lot of traits of the Millen’s.. but I don’t live my life on Facebook, etc.. but that’s more of an individual choice — as I have friends who certainly do. I think my natural inclination into computers from about age 5-6 (was a prodigy in that arena early) sort of shaped the direction I would go. At the same time I can relate with those who are 5-10 years older, and 5-10 years younger quite easily. So, it’s not that if you are born 1 year before the “cutoff” you ARE the previous generation and hold those values etc.. it’s just it has to be cut somewhere. Anyone on the borders at the bottom or top end will naturally fall into one or the other by behavior/exposure etc —
    Example: Some people born in my year , 1979,.. will have considerably different attitudes across the board and live quite different lives while others are more like myself. There is chart that overlaps the generations and I think people KNOW where they fall if they are in the low or upper overlaps. As shown here: http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2014/03/generations3/30ebe0c8d.png

  35. 1910-1927 = Greatest Generation
    1928-1945 = Silent Generation
    1946-1963 = Baby Boomers
    1964-1981 = Generation X
    1982-1999 = Generation Y
    2000-2017 = Generation Z

    There you have it people. A perfect 18 year span for each generation. This makes it more smooth sailing and less of an arbitrary rollercoaster.
    I really do dislike how late 70s early 80s borns are so muddled between Gen X and Y, and how mid-late 90s borns are so muddled between Gen Y and Z.

  36. Pingback: Generation X And Y Are From What Years | Bolakovic2

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  38. I have seen this post plenty of times and I have been wanting to comment on it. I wanted to clear a few things.

    First, Millennials are those between 1977/78 and 1997/98. What some people are not aware of is that the name comes from graduating high school around the millennium (which the oldest members did). As for the name, there are other terms for this generation as well like Y2K and Echo Boomers (which both were used back then to explain this peer group). Generation Z AKA Plurals, Centennials, Founders or Homelanders, are the generation in school today and they are currently 18 and under.

    Second, some folks should know is that generations shouldn’t even be defined by technology as the older groups never were. They should be described with attributes, events and other misc. Yes, the PC, Radio , TV and the Telephone made history, but they never at one point described any of the generations who witnessed them.

    Something else I wanted to point out is that the birth rate had returned to increasing in 1977 (which could be the reason why that’s the beginning) and continued to rise. In addition, the school experience is not discussed often like it should be. Excluding technology, X’ers were generally finished with school before 2000 and were either in their 30s and/or approaching it. Millennials, on the other hand, were still in the classroom throughout the decade and well in the 2000s and were mainly adolescents at the time.

    If you were in elementary school in the 90s, there’s no way you could be an Xer. They were mostly done by the late 80s. As for secondary school (both MS and HS), only the oldest Echo Boomers were there in the 90s as the rest were there later in the decade and into the 2000s. I mean how can anyone be in secondary school in the late 90s and 00s and be considered X? It makes no sense. Even if you were in college in the early 2000s, you would still be a Millennial because by then, the atmosphere was clearly Echo-Boomer and the environment of the Xers had already diminished.

    Now I wanted say something about voting. No Millennial could ever vote for Bill Clinton as they were too young and by 2000, they were barely eligible to vote for Bush/Gore as well. Generation Y2K were not even a driving force in the voting polls until the 2008 election as half were now eligible to vote by then. If you could not vote for Clinton in the 90s, you’re definitely a Millennial.

    Furthermore, most Xers were 30 and over, and were already having families. The Millennials were no where near that age group until a few years ago and were/are mostly still in their 20s in the 2000s and right now.

    Now regarding technology, yes it was rising rapidly in the 00s, but were Echo Boomers really using it as much as they are today? Keep in mind that cell phones even 10 years ago were still standard, slide or flip and that everything else such as social media, searching online and even ordering products were widely used with PCs.

    I also wanted to dispel the stereotypes about this generation. How did we even become the safe-spaced, whiny, extremely PCed and “can’t live without technology” generation? We aren’t even like that! All my friends and I are part of this generation and I don’t see any of them fitting into any of those labels. I even have some older Millennial friends and they are absolutely not like that either. With all of those negative stereotypes associated with this generation that are clearly not true, I don’t understand what’s wrong with being a Millennial. Yeah, there are some out there who are pessimistic and entitled, but that’s not all of them. The media seems to forgotten there are plenty of us who are positive, diligent, and not obnoxious. In addition, we’re not some sexless, jobless and lazy freaks either. Many of us actually have jobs/careers, homes/apartments, are married and/or even have children.

    Now, what researchers forget is that generations are not monolithic. They need to be split into two groups. It definitely creates less confusion and is a much better way. For example, the Older Millennials and Younger Millennials

    Events that define Millennials: Y2K, Columbine, 9/11, Iraq War, Great Recession and Obama

    Attributes: Free thinkers, Liberals, Tech-Savvy, Adventurous, Multi-taskers, Team-Oriented and Open-minded.

  39. I have seen this post plenty of times and I have been wanting to comment on it. I wanted to clear a few things.

    First, Millennials are those between 1977/78 and 1997/98. What some people are not aware of is that the name comes from graduating high school around the millennium (which the oldest members did). As for the name, there are other terms for this generation as well like Y2K and Echo Boomers (which both were used back then to explain this peer group). Generation Z AKA Plurals, Centennials, Founders or Homelanders, are the generation in school today and they are currently 18 and under.

    Second, some folks should know is that generations shouldn’t even be defined by technology as the older groups never were. They should be described with attributes, events and other misc. Yes, the PC, Radio , TV and the Telephone made history, but they never at one point described any of the generations who witnessed them.

    Something else I wanted to point out is that the birth rate had returned to increasing in 1977 (which could be the reason why that’s the beginning) and continued to rise. In addition, the school experience is not discussed often like it should be. Excluding technology, X’ers were generally finished with school before 2000 and were either in their 30s and/or approaching it. Millennials, on the other hand, were still in the classroom throughout the decade and well in the 2000s and were mainly adolescents at the time.

    If you were in elementary school in the 90s, there’s no way you could be an Xer. They were mostly done by the late 80s. As for secondary school (both MS and HS), only the oldest Echo Boomers were there in the 90s as the rest were there later in the decade and into the 2000s. I mean how can anyone be in secondary school in the late 90s and 00s and be considered X? It makes no sense. Even if you were in college in the early 2000s, you would still be a Millennial because by then, the atmosphere was clearly Echo-Boomer and the environment of the Xers had already diminished.

    Now I wanted say something about voting. No Millennial could ever vote for Bill Clinton as they were too young and by 2000, they were barely eligible to vote for Bush/Gore as well. Generation Y2K were not even a driving force in the voting polls until the 2008 election as half were now eligible to vote by then. If you could not vote for Clinton in the 90s, you’re definitely a Millennial.

    Furthermore, most Xers were 30 and over, and were already having families. The Millennials were no where near that age group until a few years ago and were/are mostly still in their 20s in the 2000s and right now.

    Now regarding technology, yes it was rising rapidly in the 00s, but were Echo Boomers really using it as much as they are today? Keep in mind that cell phones even 10 years ago were still standard, slide or flip and that everything else such as social media, searching online and even ordering products were widely used with PCs.

    I also wanted to dispel the stereotypes about this generation. How did we even become the safe-spaced, whiny, extremely PCed and “can’t live without technology” generation? We aren’t even like that! All my friends and I are part of this generation and I don’t see any of them fitting into any of those labels. I even have some older Millennial friends and they are absolutely not like that either. With all of those negative stereotypes associated with this generation that are clearly not true, I don’t understand what’s wrong with being a Millennial. Yeah, there are some out there who are pessimistic and entitled, but that’s not all of them. The media seems to forgotten there are plenty of us who are positive, diligent, and not obnoxious. In addition, we’re not some sexless, jobless and lazy freaks either. Many of us actually have jobs/careers, homes/apartments, are married and/or even have children.

    Now, what researchers forget is that generations are not monolithic. They need to be split into two groups. It definitely creates less confusion and is a much better way. For example, the Older Millennials and Younger Millennials

    Events that define Millennials: Y2K, Columbine, 9/11, Iraq War, Great Recession and Obama

    Attributes: Free thinkers, Liberals, Tech-Savvy, Adventurous, Multi taskers, Team-Oriented and Open-minded.

  40. I consider myself 90s baby and a millennial as I was old enough to remember the n64, gamecube, Gameboy color and gba, the boy and girl band craze, 9/11. I am old enough to have a childhood without smartphones and technology was not a big focus when I was a little kid. I was old enough to watch technology evolve from windows 95 to windows today. my first email address was a aol email address and I still use it today. it is hard to know what era people born in the early 90s fit into too because we are too old to be 00s babies but not quite old enough to be complete 90s babies.

  41. I’m sorry, but in my opinion and what I have read on these boards, I feel like Gen X ends around the late 80’s. To compare someone born in 1980 and 1995 and put them in the same generation is silly. I was born essentially in December of 1989, so I qualify as a 90’s kid. Most of the people born even in 1985 vs 1990 have different experiences and the 85’ers tend to feel more part of the Gen X’ers. I know nothing of the 80’s and feel a little old when I took a quiz to see if I was a 2000’s kid. You would be surprised how much you remember even your 0-5 years of age. Anyone born after 1988-1996 is a 90’s kid, after that you are a 2000’s kid. I am a millennial, proud of it, but you can’t lump 20-25 years and call it one generation, too many things have happened in each decade. Just my thoughts!

    • No. Gen X ends in the 70s. There’s honestly no way folks from the 80s can be Xers since the generation began in the 60s. The Millennials/Y group consists of the 80s and 90s; then you have the Z cohort which is those either post-1994 or -post-1996.

      Oh and to anyone who’s confused on the whole Millennial thing. The name refers to those who graduated high school around the millennium, not those born around it.

  42. If you were a teenager in the early to mid 90s, then you know Gen X ended in the late 70s, possibly ’80 or ’81. It’s ridicules that anyone born in the late 80s would call themselves Gen X (Victor, I’m talking to you). It’s a generation, not a state of mind. It’s about experiencing things together in the same age range. I was born in 79 and I would barely consider myself Gen X, other than the fact that I can’t relate to most younger millennials who don’t remember the things I remember about growing up in the 80s. Yup, there is a huge difference between 80s kids and 90s kids. Sorry. It’s true.

    There was literally no internet. There were no cel phones. There weren’t home computers (at least my family didn’t have one and no one I knew did). Jesus, we rented a VCR along with the movies at the video store in the 80s until we got one in ’88. It was a completely different experience growing up in the 80s than the 90s.

    So why the heck are we lumped together?

    Back to the Gen X age gap. The only reason I would say that those of us born in the late 70s and the first couple of years in the 80s MIGHT be labeled “late Gen X” is because we were pre teens and teenagers in the early to mid 90s when the whole Gen X craze was in full swing. And yes, it was a craze. And we weren’t exactly kids anymore. We were the younger teens listening to grunge, watching MTV and Reality Bites, wishing we were as cool as Kurt, Winona, Drew, and River. Did we consider ourselves Gen X at the time? Most likely not, but we sure as hell looked up to them and the older Gen Xers had a MAJOR impact on us kids born in the late 70s/ very early 80s.

    These days when I look back, I think those born in the late 70s and 1980/81 are not a part of either generation. We are stuck in the middle. We may think like Gen X, but we were too young to really experience what they did firsthand. We watched from the sidelines. The truth is, we were wannabe Gen Xers (guess you could say we still are) and most of us have more in common with our older counterparts than the younger ones. And let’s face it, we’re not as cool either. But still cooler than Millennials. 😉

    • Ha! I could have written this:-). I’m a 81 baby, and maybe I sympathize more with this because I was the youngest in my family/neighborhood so got exposed to things a tad younger than I would have if I was the oldest (ex. first punk concert in NYC when I was 15, would NEVER had done that if I was an only child!).

      I remember in the early 90s already thinking I was born too late because I wanted to have been a teenager in the early 80s when new wave music was coming out:-). I do think the 80s were very different than the 90s, so there is something special about remembering/having done something in them than not. At least where I am from, things were very very different in the 80s. 1987 = no name clothing stores and non-chain bakeries, hardware, etc. on Main St. (and the “drug store” sold books, real toys, and pets, you could do real shopping there), farms, many women wore dresses around not sweatpants, big 80s hair, record players, music from the 50s was having a revival, houses/land dirt cheap. 1997 = the McMansion had come, culture and fashion were a bit trashier, music had curses all over the place, things just got a bit too….suburban, chain restaurants opened up, we even got a mall 15 miles away. And not an 80s style mall, a millenial-esque outlet mall. Block parties were starting to be a rarity and not the norm, as were huge neighborhood Christmas events or gatherings in general. Everyone was busy now and more moms worked than ever before so they didn’t have time to organize stuff. But most people still didn’t have the internet so teenagers did basically the same thing – lock themselves in their rooms with music and magazines and make mixed tapes off of midnight radio.

      And yeah, I remember feeling like I wasn’t X in the early 90s, but now that we’re all older, don’t feel millenial either. Alot of the X stuff described people 5 years older than me, and millenial stuff, 5 years younger than me. I mean, got a basement apartment in 1999 and worked minimum wage then, which was $5.25, for example. My first office job was all paper and no email, and when we got email, no one answered it anyway so I still had to call them. Just a few examples why I feel like a border baby. Of course, I am realizing that many of those older people I thought were genX were/are actually boomers now that we’re older. For example, more than half of the Melrose Place cast was Boomers even though they tried to play them off as very young, and there were younger than me at the time, but that made them boomers. I also think its ironic that Keanu Reeves is a boomer:-)

    • What about those born in 1982 or 83? I get really offended when they say those born just a year after me (for many born in early 1982 less than a year after me as I was born in April 1981) are full blown Millennials. The difference between those born in 82 and people born in 81 (like me) are pretty much zilch.

      • You all are Generation Y which actually started much earlier than 1980. The cohort after that began in 1995/96 and they would be Generation Z.

        There’s more to being associated with a generation than just technology. Remember that Yers were affected by 9/11, Columbine, Iraq, and the Great Recession which are the events that describe them. They recall the Clinton and Bush administrations very well before Obama was president.

        Their pop culture began in the late 90s with Teen pop, Pop-Punk, American Pie, and I can’t hardly wait, and ended with Electro-pop, dubstep, the Neighbors movies, and This is the End film.

  43. This has been something that I’ve thought about a lot (relatively) for my adult life 2x to now in my 30’s.

    I was months old in 1980. — My first year of Middle School was in the 90’s, early 90’s of course. Highschool started mid 90’s to end of 90’s. My college years went from 2000-2006/7 (I took a year off before starting college and I spent more years than the prototypical 4 as I shifted majors a few times,.. took classes I was just interested in occasionally just to ‘learn’ about that particular subject.. and to include some honesty I took some semesters off.. I took a year off at one point. )

    For BROAD demographic purposes — like (A Generation is outnumbering B Generation for the upcoming election, taking over important jobs (starting to be the majority in running the country/world) — The broader age ranges/birth years should be used. IE: 1977 (give or take a year) through – about 1997 (give or take) SHOULD absolutely be used. And those born in the last 2-3 years of the 70’s are by majority not Gen X mentality. Just like those born in 1996 are not by majority the same mentality as people born in 1982 or 1984 etc..

    So for smaller comparisons on personality traits, the ‘me me me’ attitude,.. participation trophy mentality (everyone is awesome,.. ) and so on — Should be broken down into smaller year ranges.

    IE: Those born from 1978-1988 are going to be VERY similar as a majority group in these types of things. Those born from 1988-1998 the same.. and so on. Breaking it to 10 year gaps instead of 20 isn’t tough to do and more accurately represents the majority.

    Let me put it another way.

    I’m in my mid 30’s now. — I came into my adult hood in the early 2000’s — I was using and happened to be a computer ‘prodigy’ as a child so it makes me an anomaly on technology (and guided my ‘career’ path) as such.. — As in 1987 when I was 6 years old,.. personal home computers were out there but they weren’t out in majority numbers and certainly not for children. However, I built my first computer at age 6-7 — I was cutting my teeth on DOS (was only command line at that time) and simultaneously *nix based OS’s. I was running what is called a “BBS” (BUlletin board system) — Here’s a really poor example of a BBS video — (They were much better graphically, had games, files, chat, forums, etc.. but it’s all I could find quickly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEv-H2CeGWQ

    As a “SysOp” (System Operator) – out of my parents house obviously,.. and they had already purchased me a dedicated phone line because I was ‘online’ so much logging into other BBS’s,… My first modem came with the online service “Prodigy” (Similar to AOL) — it was a 2400Bps (Baud) modem. I of course would log in to AOL, and so on. The majority of the phone line as taken up by my own BBS (Razor’s Edge) as it was highly successful,.. and had people on it 24 hours a day (It’s like if you took AOL and were the owner and operator/programmer etc scaled WAAAAY down to only support a couple of people accessing it at the same point in time. (Mine had 3 phone lines , thus three people could be online at the same time.. and interact with each other. You have to remember this was FUN to people back at that time. As this cutting edge — no one had ever typed to another person on a computer in REAL time before,.. it seems boring/lame now but things have changed obviously. — Plus the forums, blogs, like this.. and so on were all on BBS’s as just one section part of them so people interacted that way,.. they ’emailed’ each other via bbs’s,.. they played games single player and multiplayer in two ways (If the BBS had multiple lines (9X% didn’t have more than 1 line) – then you could play games in real time with other people from anywhere in the world. — Otherwise you still played against other people , but you would just do your ‘moves’ and when they logged in they would do theirs. Or, you would compete for highest score, best this or that and so on.

    Here’s the BBS I ran in a random list online right now http://prntscr.com/ce93dx

    Enough of the BBS talk though.

    The point of that is to show how I’m a bit of an anomaly for my ‘generation’ as I got the same experiences with online technology as all the people who were 5-9 years old or so did when AOL was massive and 56k modems were abound — and the internet was in it’s infancy so AOL for a while was the main access /login point for most people. —

    Plus due to being born ~1980 I still regardless of my early computer ‘genius’ or whatever you want to refer to it as — I was using dialup 56k with everyone else, my friends, school mates, whatever in Middle school and by huge majority in Highschool. By the end of highschool the internet was the primary platform for people (AOL was sitll huge) but people went to the Internet 1.0 and used Netscape navigator (a popular browser) and IE,.. At this time Broadband was starting to come about,.. and just as I was starting college I got my first Broadband connection from Charter Cable — Was a 1Mbps connection and was absolutely AMAZING to me – as the shift from dialup to even just 1Mbps was phenomenal. (They started before that speed though,.. they hit 256Kbps and 384, 512 etc — but my market went straight to 1Mbps to start us out. (If you are roughly my age,.. you may remember the “Shark fin” modems — They were Motorola modems — and looked something like this : http://www.proprojectorsllc.com/ebay/zupernowa/Temp/DSC_0036s.jpg

    But blah blah lol..

    So for me,.. I ended up with , imho,.. a lucky birth year/range — where I obtained a touch of some good things (maybe some bad too) from the tail end of Gen X (In some year-ranges , in other year ranges I can’t even be considered anything of Gen X) — but by majority the split comes to something like:

    5-10% Gen X (end of that culture) and 90-95% of what is referred to as Millennial —

    But,.. for those who are in their 30’s now,.. maybe even some people in their early 40’s can relate — That they don’t have the negative 1990 forward birth date type of me me me , everyone is #1 ,.. the participation type mentality etc — and don’t have the negative traits of the Gen X heart (which was 1971-1976 ish).

    Basically,.. people who are now ‘young enough’ to still be in the 1978+ birth range but born at latest 1988 or so (there is no EXACT year ever to cut these things) — (So basically as of 2016 — Being age range of currently: 27/28 to about ~39 years old) All experienced the gap of both generations. Everyone in this age range grew up (came into adulthood) with the modern internet, broadband, and had cell phones in early adulthood, and are VERY much technology/information age dependent or were raised with technology instead of it coming along when they were already 25-30-35-40+ years old (already an adult and past the early adulthood phase) — But on the flipside went through most or part of their school K-12 OUT of the “me” attitude,.. out of the participation trophy attitude,.. and so on.

    I see it as a 10 year birth range (give or take) that are unique in that they had the opportunity to see both sides ALL during their young childhood well before adulthood.

    This allows some of these people my exact age and even younger to lean more towards a Gen X’er — and conversely people my age and a bit older even leaning heavily more towards the Mil lineal type attitude — And in many cases like my own,.. it’s a healthy mix.

    Lastly, — I think it’s very telling what ‘age range’ of people you tend to get along with.

    So for me, in my 30’s now — My close friend base consists of people from 25- to early 40’s. (There are of course some outliers who are 20 or 47.. (as is expected ) — but in general you take your age and roughly 10 years in either direction become ‘like minds/interests etc’ — Especially when you turn 30 and go into that range — As when you are 18,.. the friend base is going to be generally more “isolated” or a small ‘gap’ or spread of how far from your own age it goes. So at 18 most of your friends will be 16-17-18-19-20-21 — This spreads every year you get older. At 25 it may be as broad as 18-35. I’m speaking in general/majority here I know some people will have VERY broad friend ranges even at young ages.. and some people a bit older,.. ie: in 30’s.. may still have a 2-3 year in either direction narrow friend base/age range.

    IE: 35 year old person — 99% of friends are 32-38 (This is an outlier though).

    So bring in the Gen “Y” we used to have.. and cut off the top end of it — Down to about 1977 – 1988 and that would be Gen Y (me).

    Then Have Gen Z as 1989 – 2000. Then have Gen whatever as 2001-2012 — And so on ,.. and in reverse as well.

  44. I was born in 1977 to a father born in 1945 (pre-baby boom to a mother born in 1927 so arguably the same generation) and a mother born in 1947 (boomer? but to parents born in 1912 and 1913). I have an older brother born in 1970 (Gen X) and a younger brother born in 1982 (Gen Y / Millennial ?). The first computer I remember is a TS-80 followed by 3 Tandy Cocos . My father and brother did the dial-up message board form of the internet in the mid 1980’s. We had Pong followed by Atari 2600 and later (early 1990s) Nintendo. We didn’t get cable until 1992 (we were in a rural area), and it was uncommon for people to have cell phones until Junior or Senior year of High School (about the time they got cars – 1994 or 1995). I remember the Berlin Wall falling, and with equal impact Hong Kong getting handed back to the Chinese. Nirvana wasn’t really popular in my area until post 1992. I could easily listen to music my dad liked (Beatles, Beach Boys), my brother liked (Eagles, Cars, Led Zeppelin), my classmates liked (Guns ‘n Roses, MC Hammer, New Kids), or my younger brother liked (Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Offspring). As far as recessions, I grew up in upstate NY so there was no boom and bust, it was all rust belt slog.
    Am I gen X? Am I gen Y? depending on what site with what dates it appears I could be either.

  45. Strauss and Howe are full of it. One of them is even dead now. They were both early baby boomers who really didn’t understand Gens X and Y as much as they claimed they did. I was born in 1981 and I have very little to almost nothing in common with the core of Gen X (those born 1965-1976). Even those born in the late 70s were always the big kids to me. Other sources I have seen have called me a Millennial and I could post plenty of them. One source even called me a Xennial, having attributes of both late Gen X and early Gen Y. To say I am a full Gen Xer like Strauss and Howe did really pissed me off and is pisses me off when others use it to define me as well.

    • I’m not sure anyone ever claimed 1981 was some core genx year, the whole point of this blog is that people born on the border years such as 1981 don’t feel like they really belong in either. Not sure I get what you mean when you have nothing in common with core GenX (which would start a little later than you say BTW). I’m married to someone born in 1974 and split my job with someone born in ’76 and some my best friends were born in ’68 and ’79, and I’m also an ’81 baby, and it’s not like I’m having generational clashes with the people mentioned. I have that more with my older coworkers born in the early 60s but not people from the 70s. Actually, it’s easier to get along with people a tad older who remember what I do + then some, vs. my coworkers born in the 90s…..

      • The thing is that not everyone has the same experience. The thing is that Strauss and Howe start it in 1982 and that bugs me. You telling me someone born in 1982 is going to be any different than what you described? Like they are going to have more in common with coworkers born in the 90s than someone born in the 60s or 70s?? A lot of sources paint 1982 as in between as well…and yes Strauss and Howe made it out like someone born at 11;59:59 PM on December 31, 1981 would be radically different than someone born just a second later on January 1, 1982. Those two piss me off!! So glad one of them is dead.

      • – Brandon Johns – oh yeah I actually remember reading know that they placed 1982 as a border because people raised their kids differently starting in 1982 or something? Had something to do with some popular child care book or something? That is a pretty weird theory – not the people-raise-their-kids-differently-over-time part, the tying it to a book part or a specific year. I think its better to place borders – generational or otherwise on specific things – such as greatest generation = old enough to have fought in WW2, baby boomer = part of an actual baby boom.

      • So someone born just a year later in 1982 wouldn’t have anything in common with those born in the 70s? Am I missing something here?

      • Not to mention because someone wrote a book that came out in 1982 they would raise their kids differently than someone born in 1981? So stupid. Makes is sounds like someone born in 1981 suddenly became an adult in 1982 and wasn’t just a year old. LOL

  46. Man, I was born in 1982 and have no clue why this is such a huge discussion but I am very intrigued. I came here because I was bored and holy crap- people take their generation very seriously. So, if I have this correct; if you are born between 81-84 you don’t belong anywhere? The Xers hate us and we hate the millennials? Hahaha.. oh man that’s perfect! I mean, think about it.. How is that any different than the rest of our life? Yeah, we had cooler stuff than the xers and the millennials where babies. We should just be known as “non-generation”. I’ll take it. FYI: I hung out with the older kids, loved grunge (still do) was a middle child and always thought my little brother was spoiled. I was working a full time job during 911 and had my first cell phone in like 2004 and that’s because we had our first kid. Haha.. according to some.. my son and I are both Millennials! Ha! This was a great read.

  47. Wow this is a insanely long article, here is what I think, those who were born in the yaer 1978-1982 are the real 90’s kids/teens…not those taht were born in 1995, or 1998, like what do you remember from that time, how to not shit your diaper ? LOL Cultural stuff that we all grew up on Video Games: Nintendo, gameboy, game gear, tiger electronics, Super NES, Genesis, Sega CD, 32x, panasonic 3do, PSX, PS2 etc, if all you remember is Atari LOL then you are not part of our generation end of story… Movies, Clueless, Hackers, Kids – 1995, New Jersey Drive, Fresh, Tv Shows, Boy meets world, Clarissa explains it all, Saved by the Bell, 90210 – 1992… The TGIF line up, Married with Children etc, etc, PC Games too many too list so I won’t bother, just to put it out there I am a Gamer, so the list can get rather long… MTV Road Rules, Tom Green show, etc, etc… Movie Stars/ singers/rappers , 90’s Hip/Hop, I was never really into rock music so… gangsta rap…Kris Kross – started the pants backwards thing.. and tshirts inside out……, Onyx, Mob Deep, Tupac. Eminem, Wu-tang… list goes on.. Actors teen idols, Sarah Michele Gellar, Brian Austin Green, That chick from My so called life, Mila Kunis, Jessica Alba etc…. Clothing.. and that’s’ what really defines our generation is Starter, jackets, hats, jerseys, anything with the letter S on it with a star…. …. remember how many kids were murdered for these…gang fads etc….. smh… yay the 90’s..

    • The end of your comment just made me laugh, though it wasn’t funny at the time. When my sister started HS in ’92 certain sports jackets were all the rage even if you didn’t watch sports, and someone broke into her locker to steal her Knicks jacket. Me and my other sister couldn’t help laughing because it was so stupid that my sister sold out to all of these trends including Knicks regalia and Le Sports Sac.

      And I love Married with Children more than ever the last year or two now that I’m done rapidly climbing the corporate ladder and have landed where I’m probably going to be for a while….and it kind of sucks….so everything Al says sound like things that go through my head, LOL

  48. Ok I’ll be generous, the 90’s kids are anyone born between the years of 1978-1985 but officially 1978-1982 are defines as the “Nintendo Generation” those that came after, are “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” forget the X and the Y we are all millennials, especially if you turned 18-21 in the year 2000 can’t get more millennial than that… another thing is slang… Like ebonics and stuff, our generation does not speak “fam” “yolo” or “bae” if anything someone that would use the term “bae” in the 90’s would get stomped just for that LOL

  49. Yea there is one more thing I’d like to add, like if you are still HS in 2016 then you are not a 90’s kid, stop trying to hijack our era, yes it’s true we are kind of tribal, but there is a reason for that, probably has to do with how we grew up, thinking how we were centers of the universe and such….and that the world revolved around us…. as for the “boomers” that would be our parents, most likely, like those women that gave birth to kids born anywhere from 1978-1985, they worked their asses off true, they gave us a good life, we are grateful, but no need now to say that we are all screwed up, entitled and spoiled like…. you were the ones raising us after all.. so… no need to blame us for that… in reference to an individual above blaming us for screwing up his/her beloved America… which is find kind of ridiculous like you are blaming your kids for your own screw ups in a way…

    • How are we responsible for that anyhow… it’s not like we unleashed a war in Iraq and killed a bunch of innocent people, 2003 many of us were finishing HS and starting college at the time… we also certainly weren’t the ones that screwed up the economy and made this country a trillion dollar debt, so yea…

  50. The person who mentioned here that a millenial doesnt remember life before the internet is very true. The average millenial bareley remembers the dial-up sound. I was born in 1978. I remember living my childhood without a computer. Our family didn’t have a computer until jr high. I learned in highschool typing class how to type on a typewriter! Whiteout was used for fixing mistakes as well as for huffing. In 1996 I registered independant, and I have never ever ever affiliated with a political party. I voted in November 96 election for the first time, and I voted for Perot over either the sleeze Clinton who burned Branch Dividian’s to death, or dull Dole. In 96, Clinton wasnt yet embrolled in impeachment over oral office escapades. But white water was already in the news before his first reelection. In 2000 election, I beleive McCain had different principles than he does now. I was dissapointed McCain lost the primary to Bush.

    I think one item really differentiates Xrs from Millenials. That is the cold war was a big thing for Xers. I was fully aware and interested in Cold War issues. I remember reading cold war books when growing up. I had a classmate in grade school who had family in Germany, she brought back a peace of the Berlin Wall, in the early days of it being chipped down. I vividly remember Desert Storm media footage, the F-117 and chocalate chip camo where popular for kids growing up as was that brief couple months kids were folding over and rolling their jeans pant cuffs tight, cutting off circulation to their feet. I also remember the time the cold war ended, almost a year after desert storm, December of 1991. Red Dawn, Hunt for Red October, Patriot games, all good Gen X movies. I was young when Ghost Busters and Top Gun came out, but they were vividly great movies for me as much as they were for my older siblings. Family Ties, Cheers, Cosby, Thursday night line-up. A-Team was another great show. And yes my older brother and sister were more fully in Gen X catagory, but we share many things from early 80s, including the tube-socks and short shorts carry-over early 80s clothing. Yes I also love Van Halen, Huey Lewis, ACDC, but I also love Cranberries, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Proclaimers etc, as well as old 80s stuff like Howard Jones, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbit, Billy Idol, Genisis, Level 42, and yes even a few A-ha albums. I laughed in the jr high Vannila Ice music, and that goofy Rico Suave song, as some of the worst music ever, but I admit to liking some of Mili Vinili’s songs, as well B-52s early stuff. Gen Xers will remember the good-ol days when rap music was inclusive of all people, wasnt all dark and had no affiliation with gangs or cop hating. When the boy bands came out in the 90s, that was also a horrible time, later when bands like Blink 182 came out, it was again horrible music, though the attempted reemergence of swing and ska was fun(Ten Things I hate About You time period). I don’t care what anyone says, I’m Gen X age 38

  51. Born in 83′. Not to sound selfish but I feel this year is the cusp of the generation exchange. Maybe my parents age and upbringing have something to do with this but my father was born in 42′ (maybe old for my age). Anyhow, I remember jumping on a trampoline around 11,12 years old listening to Nirvana, Tool, and NIN like it was going out of style. No cell phones, renting VHS videos, wearing (and cutting) holes in our jeans. Where do I fit?

  52. Generations labels are a stupid way to label a large group of people for marketing and work purposes. The newest generation in the work force always gets crap for being lazy slackers. I remember gen x getting that label and the baby boomer hippies I am certain probably got crap for it too. Now the millennials are the lazy entitled ones…..and when gen z is established in the work force, they’ll get crap too. I personally don’t care what generation they want to label me. Arguing with a person 4 or 5 years younger than you excluding them from your generation because you watched Mr. Rogers and they watched Barney is dumb. Who cares? Anyone with at least a 5 year difference in age with another person is going to have differences like that with each other. Lumping groups of people that were born 15 or 20 years apart is definitely going to be in accurate. People born in 65 are going to have a different childhood than someone born in 76 and so on. It’s a stupid way to categorize us all and we are not all going to fit 100% into the label they give us. With that being said, you CAN’T be in the same generation as you PARENT. If you claim to be a millennial but your parent falls in to the millennial birth years you are not a millennial, you would be part of the next generation. I have friends that had kids in 2001 (when we were 18) and their kids would NOT be considered part of the same generation. I always thought that’s what the term generation meant (to describe grand parent, parent, child). Anywho, I wouldn’t let these labels offend you…..who cares. Picking on a person because they were born 5 to 10 years after you because they just don’t know what you experienced is dumb. Of coarse you experienced different things. Saying someone born in 83 just doesn’t understand what you went through when you were born in 81 is the most stupidest fucking thing I think I’ve ever read. Get a life. Your 2 years older than them you sound absurd. I was actually born in 83 and I am DEFINITELY NOT in to Harry potter or twilight ha ha. I though that suit all came out when I was in my twenties and mid twenties. That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Take care!

    • Generations aren’t the only ones labeled, EVERYTHING is! From race and gender to politics and religion, we ARE all labeled regardless of our personality. It’s human nature. I definitely agree that everyone is different which is why we all need to be seen as individuals although I doubt that will ever happen; however we need labels because it gives people a sense of order and an identity.

  53. Pingback: Malaysian Millennials Shaking Up The Workplace - Malaysia Untold | PEMANDU

  54. Looking at this article again, there are good reasons why the Y cohort began in the late 70s and NOT 1982 (only ONE source states that and all the other references follow that format)

    If one were to look at birth rates, it started rising in the late 70s once more after a dramatic decline for about the last 15 years. Then, it continued to climb until its peak in the early 90s with a slight decease after. !977 to 1994 IS the Y (aka Echo Boomers) cohort while Z (aka Homeland – Plurals) are 1995 to 2009.

    Next is events. The majority of this generation witnessed 9/11 as their biggest occurrence which truly impacted them very well compared to others such as Columbine, Iraq, Great Recession etc. This cohort were mainly in school (including college) when it took place.

    Then, here comes pop culture. It has already been established that it began in 1997 with most now targeting this generation after the transition from the MTV cohort to this one. The Gen X influence had pretty much disappeared because the members of the above mentioned were over college age by then. The movies, music, TV shows etc. released around that time were clearly for the Y cohort while everything prior to that time-frame were for the previous generation (X aka MTV).

    Another one are the past few elections. The first election this cohort could vote was in 1996, NOT 2000; however, they were barely eligible at that time, so they truly didn’t make a difference until 2004 where half of them could now vote.

    Last one is social media. After the internet gained popularity, this movement also began to rise. It started with AOL and continued to be a phenomenon until Friendster and MySpace took over its spot. I find it weird how folks of the late 70s/early 80s crowd say they were finished with school before social media was a thing; however, that’s not true at all. I mean they all used AOL throughout high school OR college to message their friends, so there’s no way they can deny that fact.

    To end this, these are valid reasons on why the Y cohort began in the late 70s and not later as it’s believed to be. To make it even more fair, Gen X actually started much earlier than 1965 for supported reasons as well.

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