Baby Boomers > Generation X > Millennial > ?Renee Shaktivel

Staff Writer

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.”

Send to Kindle


  1. William Tippins | February 9, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Reply

    Ok, I’m very confused. I’ve always identified as a second-wave millennial, and I’ll explain why below:

    I disagree with “Gen Z” starting somewhere in the 90s. I was born in 1998, and my peers and I have noticed a big gap between us and those born after the millennium. I remember having the Internet as a child, but it was that slow, scary dial-up (Yes, I remember when you couldn’t use the Internet and the phone at the same time). About the only thing I did on a computer as a child was make word documents when required to. Having said that, it feels strange to be lumped in with kids who’ve had iPads since they were toddlers. CareerPlanner claims the last Millennials were born in ‘95, saying those born afterward don’t remember 9/11. There’s no way I can be grouped in with someone born in, say, 2005, since those born after 2001 didn’t live through 9/11. This event was very impactful for anyone who was alive then, whether you were 2 or 20. I, myself, was 3 at the time, and watching it unfold on TV with my mother at home is one of my earliest memories. There is a huge difference between someone like me who sat, riddled with anxiety on my mother’s lap, watching the towers fall, and a kid now who’s learning about it in a history book.

    I did further Internet research, and found that the term “Generation Y” was first coined in 1993 by Neil Howe and William Strauss, defined as those 11 and under, born in 1982 and about 20 years afterward, making the endpoint in late-2001 or early-2002, shortly after 9/11. The factor behind this birth range is the rapid advancement of technology in the late-20th century, but not quite the true emergence of the digital age. Yes, being on the tail end of this generation, I did grow up with a family PC in the home, but there was no social media until I was past my childhood years. Kids born after the millennium, on the other hand, are much more likely to have experienced the digital age during their early years.

    In short, I DO NOT buy “Gen Z.” My fellow 90s babies and I spent most of our childhood years with a landline phone, dial-up Internet, a streetlight curfew, and parents that actually parented, not to mention being alive for a devastating terror attack. We did get a participation trophy here and there, and were old enough to smoothly integrate into the tech boom of the 2000s. If you were born between 1982 and mid-2001, you’re part of the Millennial squad in my book.

So. What's your take on this?