Definitions, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and
The following terms, "Baby Boomers," "Generation
X," and "Generation Y" are often used by marketers to describe certain
age groups or generations. In learning what lifestyle issues such as
political, social, or technological influences were dominant during each
group's lifetime, marketers can better understand how to cater to them.
According to Wikipedia, "Baby Boomer" is a term
used to describe a person who was born during the demographic Post-World
War II Baby Boom (1946-1964), and also to describe a person who is part
of the Baby Boom Generation (there are controversial birth years,
starting as early as 1942, ending as early as 1953, and ending as late
as 1964). Originally, everyone born during the 1946-1964 boom in births
was considered part of the Baby Boom Generation, but over time, many
experts have come to believe that two separate cultural generations were
born during this period.
Seventy-six million American children were born
between 1946 and 1964, representing cohorts that would be significant on
account of its size alone. These several cohorts share characteristics
(such as higher education) than previous generations and assumptions of
lifelong prosperity and entitlement developed during their childhood in
the 1950s. Many experts have noted that the cultural touchstones for
those born during the first part of the birth boom are very different
than for those born during the second part.
Baby Boomer cohort #1 (born from 1946 to
Memorable events include the assassinations of
JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., political unrest, and
the walk on the moon. Other events include Vietnam War, anti-war
protests, social experimentation, and sexual freedom, as well as the
civil rights movement, environmental movement, and women's movement.
This group also experimented with various intoxicating recreational
substances. Key characteristics are experimental, individualism, free
spirited, and social cause oriented.
Baby Boomer cohort #2 (born from 1955 to
1964, commonly called Generation Jones)
Memorable events include Watergate, Nixon
resigning, the Cold War, the oil embrago, raging inflation, and gas
shortages. Key characteristics include being less optimistic, distrust
of government, and general cynicism.
Generation X is a group that was born in the United States after
1965. The term "Generation X" is based on a novel of the same name by
Doug Coupland. This group was originally referred to as the "baby bust"
generation because of the small number of births following the baby
Wikipedia defines Generation X as the generation
born between the approximate years of 1965 to 1981, the late 1950s and
1960s, or 1968 to 1979, depending on a variety of sources. While some
sources start Generation X earlier, 1965 remains the dominant and most
widely-used first birth year for Generation X. The term has been used in
marketing, demography, and the social sciences, though it is most often
used in popular culture.
Generation X thinking has significant overtones
of cynicism against things held dear to the previous generations, mainly
the Baby Boomers. The perception of Generation X during the late 1980s
was summarized in a featured article in Time magazine.
|"They possess only a hazy sense of
their own identity, but a monumental preoccupation with all
the problems the preceding generation will leave for them to
fix . . .This is the twenty-something generation, those 48
million young Americans ages 18 through 29 who fall between
famous Baby Boomers and the boomlet of children the
Baby Boomers are producing. Since today's young adults were
born during a period when the U.S. birthrate decreased to
half the level of its postwar peak, in the wake of the great
baby boom, they are sometimes called the Baby Busters. By
whatever name, so far they are an unsung generation, hardly
recognized as a social force or even noticed much at
all...By and large, the 18-to-29 group scornfully rejects
the habits and values of the Baby Boomers, viewing that
group as self-centered, fickle, and impractical. While the
Baby Boomers had a placid childhood in the 1950s, which
helped inspire them to start their revolution, today's
twenty-something generation grew up in a time of drugs,
divorce, and economic strain. . .They feel influenced and
changed by the social problems they see as their
inheritance: racial strife, homelessness, AIDS, fractured
families, and federal deficits."
According to Wikipedia, Generation Y, which is
sometimes referred to as "Millenialls" or the "Net Generation" was born
between 1982 and 2000 or 1977 and 1994, depending on the source. They
grew up in the 1990s and 2000s. Members of this generation are facing
higher costs for higher education than previous generations. They are
exceptionally tech-savvy and are especially tuned to their own value in
the job market, have limited loyalty to any particular employer, and
insist on working in a stimulating job environment. They tend to be more
tolerant of other cultures to the point that racism is considered almost
the worst possible flaw a person can have to many Gen Yers.
By Regina Cooper