What generation are you?

What separates Baby Boomers from Generation X, and what are the special characteristics of Millennials? And hey there Gen Z and Alpha babies…welcome to the party! What is the cutoff for each generation, and what stage of life are the different generations in right now? 

First, let’s look at a breakdown to clarify who’s who: 

  • Greatest Generation: Born 1901-1924. There are very few still alive from this generation. 
  • Silent Generation: Born 1925-1945. They are currently between 78 and 95 (23 million in the U.S)
  • Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964. They are currently between 57-75 (71.6 million in the U.S.)
  • Gen X: Born between 1965 and 1980 and currently between 41-56 (65.2 million in the U.S.)
  • Millennials: Born between 1981 and 1996. They are currently between 25 and 40 (72.1 million in the U.S.)
  • Gen Z: The newest generation, born between 1997 and 2012. They are currently between 9 and 24 (nearly 68 million in the U.S.)
  • Gen A: Alpha generation starts with children born in 2012 and will continue at least through 2025, maybe later (approximately 48 million  in the U.S.) 

The Greatest Generation: 

Going back to the early part of the 1900’s, the Greatest generation are those born before 1928.  This is the generation that fought and won World War II. Sadly, there are not many remaining from this group. This generation’s characteristics include personal responsibility, humility, work ethic, frugality, commitment, integrity, and self-sacrifice. 

The Silent Generation: 

Next came the Silent generation which describes adults born from 1928 through 1945. These are children of the great depression and World War II, and their “Silent” label refers to their image as conformist and civic-minded. Time Magazine coined this term in a 1951 article describing the emerging generation of the time. Some characteristics of this generation would be traditional values, emphasis on values such as hard work, loyalty and thriftiness, financial prudence, respect, determination, and resilience.

The Baby Boomers:

The oldest members of the Baby Boom generation were part of the spike in fertility that began in 1946, right after the end of World War II. Its youngest members were born in 1964, shortly before a significant decline in fertility that occurred after the birth control pill first went on the market. The Boomers grew up in a time of prosperity and an absence of world wars. Some were the Flower Children; some took LSD and protested the war in Vietnam. Unlike their parents who grew up during the Great Depression, Boomers became great consumers. They were the generation that experienced unparalleled national optimism and prosperity, The Cold War, fear of a nuclear attack from Russia, bomb shelters and hiding under a desk at school. They also were there for the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. 

Generation X: 

Generation X describes those born from 1965 through 1980. As children in the 1970s and 1980s, a time of shifting societal values, Gen Xers were sometimes called “latchkey kids” due to them returning as children to an empty home and needing to use their own key. Because of this, Gen X kids often had less supervision than other generations. This was a result of increasing divorce rates and increased participation of women in the workforce before there was widespread availability of childcare outside the home. As adolescents and young adults in the 1980s and 1990s, Xers were called the “MTV Generation” sometimes being characterized as slackers, cynical, and disillusioned. However, in their midlife during the early 21st century, research describes Gen Xers as active, happy, and achieving a work–life balance. This generation has also been credited as being entrepreneurial and productive in the workplace. 


This generation is largely made up of the children of the Baby Boom generation. Their name refers to the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. One belief about Millennials is that they were raised to think they could become anything they dreamed of and found out that wasn’t exactly the case when they began looking for a job. The Millennials grew up in a time when most homes had an internet connection and a computer. Millennials came of age in a working world that exhibited explosive growth in online companies such as Google, Facebook, SalesForce.com, LinkedIn, EBay, and so many others. They have been the beneficiaries of a revolution in the way we work, including widespread acceptance of flextime, working from home and freelancing. 

Gen Z: 

Generation Z, born from 1995 to 2010 pretty much arrived with a tablet and a smartphone under their arms. Gen Z is the first social generation to have grown up with access to the Internet and portable digital technology from a very young age and have therefore been called “digital natives.” Gen Z grew up more supervised, more protected than prior generations. Generation Z tends to live more slowly than previous generations at the same age. Research shows that they have lower rates of teenage pregnancies; and though they do consume alcohol, they don’t do it as much and are more hesitant to try other drugs. They may have less “in person” and “face to face” contact with others due to more time connecting via smartphones, and they have less experience with teen jobs and earning money in high school. Generation Z teenagers are, however, more concerned than older generations with academic performance and job prospects. 

As for the most recent generation, those born after 2010, they have been designated the Alpha generation. Who will they be? It won’t be long before we have a whole new set of defining characteristics to talk about and learn from. 


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