How do you tell the difference between a Baby Boomer and a Millennial? We’d like to settle it once and for all … but we can’t. While many people have an idea of what era is what, researchers like to use standardized generational cohorts to explain behaviors and perceptions of generations. Even between researchers, there is still some debate when one cohort ends and the next one begins. So, we will just give you the terms and eras which are most commonly used.
The following descriptors are frequently used for these various cohorts currently alive in 2015.
G.I. Generation — Those born from approximately 1900 to 1924 This cohort experience the Depression and then fought and won World War II. In 2015, these men and women are between 115 and 91 years of age. They also compose the largest growing tangible demographic in America today.
Silent Generation — Those born from approximately 1925 to 1942. They were born during the Great Depression and World War II. Initially, this label was used for people in North America but has also been applied to those in Western Europe, Australia, Asia and South America. It also refers to most of those who fought during the Korean War. The term Silent refers to the lack of discussion about their experiences during these two events. This group is made up of those between ages 90 and 73.
Baby Boomers — The most commonly used cohort. A majority of commentators use birth dates ranging from the early 1940s to the early 1960s. Some say 1962 while others say as late as 1965. They experienced both the prosperity of the Post World War II economy and have memories of the Cold War. The largest overall group because of the postwar births, Baby Boomers span from age 72 down to age 50.
Generation X — Named for the music group formed by Billy Idol, researchers also debate these birth dates but agree this group is from the early to mid-1960s up to the early 1980s. The ages 50 to 34 are the Gen X’ers. They have the beneficiaries of the financial, cultural and social changes for which the Silent Generation sacrificed and the Baby Boomers implemented. This generation is where the majority experienced day care as a part of their lives. Some also called Generation Xers the “baby bust” generation because of a significant drop in the birth rate, following the U.S. baby boom.
The Millennial Generation (also known as Generation Y) — Researchers use beginning birth dates from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. These are the generations who have fully known the technology revolution as part of their lives. Computers, Internet, Cable TV and more came into full effect during this generation. Those from age 30 down to age 14 are the standard cohort for the Millennials.
— They are also known as the Homeland Generation or “digital natives” are the cohort of people born after the Millennials. There is no agreement on the exact dates birth dates with some sources starting them at the mid or late 1990s or the more widely used period from the mid-2000s to the present day. This is the generation which is composed of those ages 13 down to those currently being born.
So now you can talk intelligently about when Great Grandma was born, or speculate what that new little bambino will experience.