Every generation has been labeled without their agreement. Demographic expert Peter Francese said that the baby boomers were the first generation to be named and groups before like the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation were named after their era passed.
However, Neil Howe named millennials in the late 1980s, when the first of the generation were just being born.
Generation labeling can be seen around the world.
In Romania, those born after communism fell in 1989 are known as the Revolution Generation, and in South Africa those born in 1994 are the Born-Free Generation.
This categorizing isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Several name ideas have already been laid out for the upcoming generation such as Generation Z, Post-Millennials, The Homeland Generation and iGeneration.
“I didn’t even realize where the next generation started,” said Regan Hicks, a 20 year old junior and philosophy major.
U.S. leaders don’t truly know either.
Some say American millennials were born between 1982 and 2000, while others say it’s 1980 to 2004 or even 1984 to 1997. While the break from millennials and the next generation hasn’t clearly been defined, there’s still a push to give them a name.
While generation names might not matter much to individual people, the government, media, specialists and marketers make use of it. Social scientists in particular use these birth cohorts to define huge social and cultural changes. It helps to categorize the differences between each group.
The baby boomers were one of the largest groups that had ever been seen, millennials are the most educated group, and the next generation is believed to be the most diverse.
While labeling can help people understand a group as a whole, it can still cause issues for those that are labeled. Stereotype threat originated in 1955, and it can be described as the discomfort people feel when they are going to fulfill the negative stereotypes about their group. This fear could lead to certain mental disorders by integrating these labels into their self-perceptions.
“iGeneration sounds like an Apple product and a meme,” said elementary education sophomore Sadie Fossati. “I would pick Generation Z because that is what I know this generation as.”