How is the millennial generation defined?

Some in the millennial generation don't identify with their label.
Some in the millennial generation don't identify with their label.
Baby boomers aren’t shy about being baby boomers. But as revealed by a new Pew Research Foundation survey, the much younger generation hasn't embraced the whole millennial thing.

   We think of the millennial generation as tech savvy up-and-comers. But while they may love their smartphones, they may also be unsure about which moniker applies to their generation.  
   Pew, a nonpartisan organization focusing on social science research, found strong generational identity among baby boomers: 79 percent consider themselves part of the baby-boom generation. The Generation X group was also aware of their moniker: 58 percent said they were part of it. But just 40 percent of those ages 18 to 34 consider themselves part of the millennial generation, Pew found. An additional 33 percent of those in the millennial generation thought they were part of Generation X.
     As pointed out by Pew, generational identifiers such as baby boomers and Generation X are the “creations of social scientists and market researchers.” But some terms stick and others don't.
     Here are the broad outlines defining each generation, according to Pew:
  • A baby boomer was born between 1946 and 1964, as soldiers were returning from World War II and starting families. They are 51-to-69 years old.
  • A member of Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980. They are 35-to-50 years old.
  • The millennial generation was coined to describe the young adults coming of age in the new millennium – and as the tech revolution was taking hold. They were born between 1981 and 1997. They are 18-to-34 years old.
  • For the record, the generation born between 1928 and 1945 is called the silent generation. They are 70-to-87 years old. Only 18 percent of those surveyed in this age group said they consider themselves part of this generation. Pew found 34 percent see themselves as the greatest generation, while another 34 percent believe that they are boomers. While the term silent generation has been in use for more than half a century, Pew noted, it never took hold.
  • Those born before 1928 are part of what we now call the greatest generation, or, specifically, those who would have participated in World War II. They are 88 years old and older.

     The generations see themselves differently. In the Pew study, 83 percent of the silent generation and 77 percent of baby boomers describe themselves as hard working. Only 36 percent of the millennial generation and 54 percent of Generation X feel that way. And while politicians often court younger voters, only 17 percent of the millennial generation reported being politically active. Comparatively, 42 percent of the silent generation said that they were politically active.  
     Sadly, those in the millennial generation are more likely to say terms such as wasteful, greedy and self-absorbed apply to their generation.

     See the complete report, Most Millennials Resist the 'Millennial' Label, on the Pew Research Center website.   


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