Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine

What generation do you belong to? Millennial, generation X or Z

While age may just be a number, there are some fascinating differences between the generations

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 07 September 2021 14:16

[This article was originally published in September 2020]

Millennial, generation Z, baby boomers… nowadays every generation has a defining label, and a set of stereotypical attributes attached.

Millennials are often arguably regarded as an “entitled” generation that’s “ruined” everything, from diamonds to sex.

That said, millennials can give as good as they get, sometimes expressing their disappointment in the way in which previous generations have handled issues such as the housing crisis or the climate crisis.

Despite the strong opinions between age groups, there's often quite a lot of confusion regarding which generational classification everyone technically falls into.

So, without further ado, here's everything you need to know about the different generations and which one you can claim as your own.

Generation Z

Emma Gonzalez attends March For Our Lives on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC

There's been a fair amount of dispute concerning the birth year that generation Z starts from.

While Statistics Canada states that generation Z starts with those who were born in 1993, it's widely understood that they're typically born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

A report published by the Pew Research Centre described this particular generation as the "post-millennials", and stated that those who fall into this category were born in 1997 onwards.

Generation Z are regarded as being a very tech-savvy generation, having been born during a time of fast-paced digital growth.

They've also received a lot of attention in the media recently due to their strong views regarding politics and current affairs, especially in the United States.

In March 2018, the world watched as a group of teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida organised March for Our Lives protests across the world to campaign for tighter gun controls in America, following a mass shooting at the school.

Those involved in the initiative were praised on a global scale, with some appearing on the cover of Time magazine to mark their significant social impact.


Actress Emma Watson

While many may flippantly describe all young people as millennials, the term is actually understood to refer to people who were born in the time period ranging from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s and early 2000s.

The more technical term for millennials is generation Y, as they succeed generation X and precede generation Z.

In 2013, an article published by Time magazine stated that the starting birth years for millennials are 1980 or 1981.

However, as with generation Z, the exact start date for millennial birth years is a topic of debate.

Similar to generation Z, millennials are defined as being particularly adept at using technology and social media platforms.

They often receive a tough time in the press, with members of the generation being accused of "killing" a variety of things, such as beer, motorcycles and the notion of owning a home.

In August 2018, a report of United Nations data conducted by Bloomberg found that millennials may become outnumbered by generation Z in the near future.

Generation X

Actor Will Smith attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures' 'Concussion' during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI.

The starting birth years for those who fall into generation X have a very large span, with the birth years understood to range from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s. However, some have differing opinions over where generation X begins due to the uncertainty over the ending birth years of the post-World War II baby boomers.

The term "generation X" was popularised by the 1991 book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, by Douglas Coupland.

This generation is recognised as having the ability to balance a strong work ethic with a laid back attitude, and are associated with the conception of music genres such as punk, indie, grunge and techno.

Baby boomers


The term "baby boomers" refers to the drastic rise in birth rates that was noted following the end of World War II.

The intriguing phenomenon was described as a "boom" by American writer Sylvia Porter in a 1951 column of the New York Post.

In the 1980 book Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, author Landon Jones asserts that the birth years of individuals in the baby boomer generation fall between 1943 and 1960.

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The Pew Research Centre's definition of baby boomers differs slightly, as it states that they're born between 1946 and 1964.

Generational expert speaker Dr Alexis Abramson explains that baby boomers are known for having confidence, being comfortable with administering authority and understanding the value of independence.

The silent generation

US senator Bernie Sanders (pictured) criticised Donald Trump for being 'tougher' on on 'tearing' immigrant children from their families than on Russian president Vladimir Putin

People who are part of the silent generation are characterised as having been born from the mid-to-late 1920s until the early-to-mid 1940s.

A report published by the Resolution Foundation called Cross Countries: International Comparisons of International Trendsclaims that those in the silent generation were born between 1926 and 1945.

They're referred to as such due to the belief that those born in that era were taught to remain silent and not speak openly about their views on current affairs.

While this may be the case, they consequently went on to play an important role in the growth of the civil rights movement.

Notable individuals who were born in this era include Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernie Sanders, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Malcolm X.

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