June 5, 2014

Generation X: America’s neglected ‘middle child’

Generation X has a gripe with pulse takers, zeitgeist keepers and population counters. We keep squeezing them out of the frame.

This overlooked generation currently ranges in age from 34 to 49, which may be one reason they’re so often missing from stories about demographic, social and political change. They’re smack in the middle innings of life, which tend to be short on drama and scant of theme.

But there are other explanations that have nothing to do with their stage of the life cycle.

Gen Xers are bookended by two much larger generations – the Baby Boomers ahead and the Millennials behind – that are strikingly different from one another. And in most of the ways we take stock of generations – their racial and ethnic makeup; their political, social and religious values; their economic and educational circumstances; their technology usage – Gen Xers are a low-slung, straight-line bridge between two noisy behemoths.

The charts below tell the tale. 

Generation X

Gen Xers' retirement fundsTo be fair, there are a few metrics that don’t fit this straightforward pattern of generational evolution. For example, over the course of their voting lives, older Gen Xers have tended to be more Republican than both older Boomers and younger Millennials. Also, Xers are more pessimistic than both of those larger generations that they’ll have enough money for their retirement – though some of that negativity is doubtless tied to the economic stresses of middle age.

Gen Xers also stand out in another way. In 2010 when Pew Research asked adults of all ages if they thought their own generation was unique, about six-in-ten Boomers and Millennials said yes. But only about half of Gen Xers said the same. And even among those who did, there was very little consensus about why they are distinctive.

One reason Xers have trouble defining their own generational persona could be that they’ve rarely been doted on by the media. By contrast, Baby Boomers have been a source of media fascination from the get-go (witness their name). And Millennials, the “everybody-gets-a-trophy” generation, have been the subject of endless stories about their racial diversity, their political and social liberalism, their voracious technology use, and their grim economic circumstances. What's unique about each US generation? Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers

Gen Xers have also gotten the short end of basic generational arithmetic. Due partly to their parents’ relatively low fertility rates, there are fewer of them (65 million) than Boomers (77 million) or Millennials (an estimated 83 million assuming a roughly 20-year age span and including those who have yet to reach adulthood).

But there’s another reason that Xers are a small generation: They’ve been deemed to span just 16 years, while most generations are credited with lasting for about 20 years. How come? No one really knows. Generational boundaries are fuzzy, arbitrary and culture-driven. Once fixed by the mysterious forces of the zeitgeist, they tend to firm up over time.

One final slight: Even their name is a retread. World War II photographer Robert Capa first coined the term Generation X in a photo essay about the young adults of the 1950s, but the label didn’t stick the first time around. It was revived thirty years later by Canadian author Douglas Coupland, whose coming of age novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, was set in Southern California.

For Xers, there’s one silver lining in all this. From everything we know about them, they’re savvy, skeptical and self-reliant; they’re not into preening or pampering, and they just might not give much of a hoot what others think of them. Or whether others think of them at all.

Paul Taylor, executive vice president for special projects at the Pew Research Center, is the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown (Public Affairs, 2014). In other words, he’s part of the problem.

Topics: Demographics, Political Attitudes and Values, Generations and Age

  1. Photo of Paul Taylor

    is the author of The Next America and the former executive vice president of Pew Research Center.

  2. is an associate digital producer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    I was born in 1975, That’s as Gen X as you can get, but im sorry there’s no way anyone born before 1965 is Gen X. Those are late boomers.

  2. Gretchen Smith1 year ago

    I am a gen Xer and I for one am very tired of the disrespect. It is high time that the all consuming baby boomers step out of the way and let us get things done right. They have made a disaster of this world and my generation is the one with the insight and knowledge to clean it up…but unfortunately every initiative is blocked by those who came before us and I am about to seriously kick some ass if they don’t get out of the way. And as far as the millenials are concerned…they can go play with their trophies until I am ready to deal with them.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Totally agree here. Baby boomers are the spoiled brats if you ask me.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Amen. You hit the nail on the head.

  3. Snake Plisken1 year ago

    I don’t care about Millenials Xer’s Boomers etc as long as all of them work, pay into Social Security and keep that going until I die.

  4. Lucy Betageek Hanouille1 year ago

    According to one web site, I’m a baby boomer because I was born in 1961. According to another web site, I’m a Gen Xer because I was born in 1961.

    Here’s what I think: I work in technical support. I talk to people of all ages all day long. The negative traits people heap on Millennials appear in every demographic. In fact, some of the rudest treatment I have received comes from boomers and greatest generationers who assume by my voice that I am a Millennial!

    I think we need to stop stereotyping people by the generation they were born in. It denies the reality of the influence of gender, sexual orientation and financial standing on an individuals character and development.

  5. Anonymous1 year ago

    If you want to define what is wrong with most everything, look at the “Boomers” I would define them as lazy and selfish. they should be considered the me, me, me, generation. I do forgive them, hell, its not their fault they turned out the way they did. But they should know better than to blame anything on X er’s or Y’s (millennium babies)

  6. Anonymous1 year ago

    I’m a boomer, an extremely liberal boomer, and I think my generation is “unique” because it was the boomers who fought for equality for blacks, women, gays, end of wars, etc. Millennials appear to be very superficial….they said “clothes” “pop culture”…that’s what they call “unique”?

    1. Lucy Betageek Hanouille1 year ago

      It appears your only knowledge of Millennials is from the press. Some boomers fought for equality for blacks, women and gays. Most did not.

      The Millennials I know think that being gay is a non-issue and do not understand the older generations homophobia. They think the condition of our economy and the planet are far more pressing issues than who someone sleeps with every night.

    2. Stacie Frost1 year ago

      Clothes and pop music do seem very superficial. I hope they realize their generation didnt create pop music/culture….and people have been wearing clothes since we lived in caves lol

  7. chuck harrison1 year ago

    I was born in 1961. As a retired GenXer I can say back in the 90s the press called us slackers which was stereotypical. Again the press to much emphasis on millieenials but not on us Xerrs. Xers got called Slackers when there was unemployemetn back in the 90s and I don’t like labels. I wasn’t no slacker I worked. Oh I was born in 61 and I wasn’t old enough to participate in the flower child movements of the 60s. So there.

  8. ResidentSirius1 year ago

    Ummm….no. generations are defined by GENEtics; the length of time it takrs the 1st born to reach adulthood (21) or, typically, pre adulthood (18), which is the legal age one can get married and continue their GENEtic line. Gen X are those born from 1965-1983. Millies are from 1984 (as noted by George Orwell, which is why he chose that year for his title) to 2002. The next Gen, unknown, is from 2003-2021. HOWEVER, Harvard and Strauss (who ho back to the 1600s and only are Generations if you came here during the Pilgrim era) have used 20 year spans, 1 because 20 year olds are like 12 year olds, prepping their final year for their next phase, and 2, it is easier to count. In that accord, Gen X is 2nd half of 64-1st half of 84, Millies are last half of 84-1st half of ’04, and yada. Most people you associate with being Gen X’rs are actually ‘Boomers (Monica and Phoebe from Friends or Andrew McCarthy, etc), while most people you associate with Millennials (such as the Big Bang Theory cast, minus, in most studies, Cuoco, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Alba, Zöe DeChanel, etc.) are Gen X’rs. They’re just entertaining the next Gen, and somehow get wrapped up into it. Like Jack Nicholson, he’s associated as being a ‘Boomer from Easy Riders, but is a Silent Genner. You are completely wrong and appear to to confusing Ages with Genetics/Generations.

    1. Leon Chung1 year ago

      Just to add to the discussion.. I was born in 1984, as with the vast majority of my friends. We’ve always identified more with gen x than millennials, it’s not even close. It’s something that so many other people born in 84 that we’ve met have expressed. To me, one of the biggest distinctions is the Internet and cell phones. Millennials don’t remember much of when there was no internet but for us 84 babies, we remember it vividly. Most ppl born in 84 probably did not own a cell phone until late in high school and remember pagers. Most millenials have never owned a pager.

      I guess what I’m saying is, I kind of agree with Harvard and Strauss because it seems like 84 was the divide. Some 84 babies identified more with the gen xers and some went off to be millenials. If one thinks about this logically, it’s more likely that a transition in generations is one that happens gradually over a span of time (perhaps at least or about a year) rather than being a clean cut.

    2. Richter Von Streed1 year ago

      Ummmmm… these are made up boundaries. It is not as if we all have births during one year and then none for the next 18-20. People are being born every day and society is constantly changing. It is much more like the spectrum of visible light than looking at the inch marks on a ruler. There is no real line of division between orange and yellow. It gradually changes from one to the other.

  9. M Crue2 years ago

    I can’t believe what this article says about Generation X. It differs greatly from other (legit) publications that have covered our generation.

  10. Justin Moore2 years ago

    generation x had been dumped on for years. we were called the lazy generation, the latch key children, etc. because we didn’t work and earn a living (there aren’t any companies that will allow you to work at 5 years of age…) i guess they could have turned back the child labor laws and allowed us to work at 12…our generation had been given the worst rap of all generations…the millenials are doted on with the boomers (the me generation) providing for their basic needs…as a generation xer i worked very hard during my early years, i went into my mom’s store that she managed at 12 and 13 and did some work for things that i wanted…i attended high school and college while working 35 hours per week. then graduated and found the employment prospects not that great. My first job paid 20k per year start with an expected first year earnings to be 23k…after that job, i struggled to find work for two years and ended up joining the navy so i could have my basic needs provided for like housing and food. it wasn’t until 1996 that i managed to get back into the 25k per year arena. In 2000, i ended up earning 36k by working overtime and bonuses that my employer offered. it wasn’t until 2008 that i again earned over 30k and actually made 38k per year. for myself it has been a constant struggle to survive living paycheck to paycheck, etc. that is why the figures of 54k a year out of college seem ridiculous to me…as most jobs did not pay 54k when i graduated from college. everything would have been fine if salaries had continued to increase and the meltdown of 2008 had not occurred. But with the way the economy was going making loans to illegal immigrants creating straw accounts for autos and lending to people who weren’t qualified the recession was inevitable. so i guess our indistinct generation may not be able to say we are the worlds fasted texters on the planet, but we indeed grew up with technology as it was developed like computers, etc. the boomers have complained about every generation including gen x and the millenials with regard to work. How much harder can a generation work than 6 days a week that i did during 1999-2001. I mean i thought of working 7 days a week when the rodeo was in town and houston cellular had a booth, but thought i needed at least one day to recover from the week. When i worked at macys, i was hired part time and picked up shifts to make 35 hours some weeks working 7 days with my second job working for an estate sales guy…to make next to nothing in income. Our generation has been far from the lazy, indulgent, self entitled kids that the boomers called us while growing up while leaving us at home alone after school, and giving us 20 books to spend the day at the mall so they didn’t have to deal with us…

    1. M Crue2 years ago

      Well put, my fellow Generation Xer. Our circumstances and experiences growing up are nearly identical.

    2. Jeni Braeger1 year ago

      I completely agree! Millenials didn’t have the “joy” of “Reaganomics” like we did once we hit employement age. Baby boomers both financially made and destroyed this country in their generation. Gen X is the generation that began the tolerant movement, began turning our backs on religion. The good thing about Millenials is they’ll continue their tolerance for others and take it even further! When boomers complain about younger people on their phones, I enjoy pointing out “like you had done, but with a newspaper?” They don’t realize that, they also don’t realize the one or 2 awful Millenials they meet doesn’t make up that whole damn generation. My daughter is in the Millenial generation and she isn’t proud of hers, she knows the stigma. That makes her work harder, in a factory and putting herself through college for her degree for said job she’s working at. Plus when the job leaves for China, she can take her degree elsewhere. Is she selfish sometimes? Narcissistic at times? Sure, but most people are. More people lack empathy than ever before, no thanks to the super rich’s success in divide and conquer.

  11. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

    I’m sorry, but after reading 100+ comments (and making a few myself) here, I still keep wondering… who are the parents of these millennials that a bulk of the Gen Xers on this page despise? No one seems to claim these millennials, or at least, it’s rarely addressed, even in articles like the one written by Paul Taylor (and George Gao) here. I’ve looked all over for an answer as to who sired this generation behind me, and can’t find a direct online answer yet. My assumption is that some are sired by late Boomers (the disco crowd) and some of the really young ones by Gen Xers (the ’80s Breakfast Club crowd?), though I may be wrong. So, are millennials mad at their “parents”, whatever generation they sprung up from, and are Gen Xers mad at their Boomer parents? Or are we all just mad at “the other guy who’s NOT from my generation or my family” via some sort of displaced frustration?

    I enjoy reading some of the comments and have often wondered whatever happened to us (Gen X) and hence found this article; I know the internet is a tool for verbal abuse, but some of the comments made on this blog are absolutely fallacious. Gen X is no better or worse than the last generation or the one(s) coming up. In retrospect, we’ve all made contributions to society or ruined some aspect of it in some way, and so it will continue. I’m not sure what Paul Taylor, the article’s author, thought he was doing here, but leaving a blog below for months on end on the Pew Research website seems like a great, inexpensive way, to get some statistical “follow up” numbers from the “ignored generation” (they knew a few of us would respond with a vengeance when they posted this!). So, we Gen Xers found this article and are griping, yet the author, no doubt, is a boomer himself, though to be fair, I cannot be certain. Very few comments/ concerns about the article summary or research results are being challenged. Maybe some of this vented frustration should be sent directly to the Pew Research society rather than aiming at each other. Again, I realize the internet is sometimes our best tool to blow off some steam after a long day of the usual “whatever” :).

    I’m certain that there are plenty of flaws and lack of understanding in the Pew Research society’s studies on Gen X (and any other generation for that matter). Case-in-point, I was never polled and only a handful of the results fit me. I’m sure there are plenty of us on this page who weren’t polled and would have responded intelligently compared to what follows in the blog comments from a handful of disgruntled fellow Xers below.

    I know we’re all frustrated for some reason or another; so am I. But, do we honestly think that we’re the only generation getting “screwed” by some other generation(s)? There are mass-scale, almost megalithic-sized (and small scale) problems in every generation’s life time, caused by those that preceded the group before. ALL OF US have been initiated into the school-of-hard-knocks in some form or other. My mother, a single mom, an early generation Boomer, born a year or two after WWII, has had so many hard knocks, even she cannot count them anymore and I’m running a close second behind her. No early retirement packages or Florida homes, annual vacations around the world, 401(K) nest eggs, 2nd ad 3rd cars for either of us college grads, as some of the commentators on this page would claim about Boomers (and sooner or later, shifted to the next scapegoat, Gen X). Each of us is presented with a path in life; some get an easy one (trust me, I know a few Millennials and a few Boomers who live lives “fraught” with almost “zero” problems) and yet some get every horrific thing in the known Universe thrown at them; there were even times when I thought of just completely giving up; I’m sure my mom did, too. But, you don’t. I know it’s just a movie, but “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a story that teaches a simple lesson (almost trite for some reading this, I’m sure, and for that, I apologize): no matter where our individual paths lead, we must weather the storms of life; in the end, it all works out… from being missed for that promotion several times, to losing anything and anyone you’ve ever held dear (all of which I have experienced 10X over). Remember: we’re only given as much as the Universe thinks we can handle, and I don’t mean this in a dogmatic way; I mean it in a universal, cheesy, self-help-sort-of-way.

    Anyway, I hope that everyone reading this article and its comments will look deeper into themselves when they reflect back on the angry comments they’ve made, or have yet to fall from their lips, fingers or pens about generational prejudice. Coming from an old Gen X singer/songwriter (me) who never made the big time, but always dreamed of it, watching too much MTV and VH-1 and who hopes we’ll all heal together some day so we can move forward and solve our greater concerns:

    May the waters flow of love under you,
    May the winds sing of life around you,
    May the flame burn brightly within you,
    May the earth lay a pathway beneath you,
    And may all Cosmic wisdom on your quest be your guide
    And wherever you need healing, know that your deepest strength lies.
    —(C) 1996, Kisa R Duncan

    1. M Crue2 years ago

      I only read 1/2 of your comment because it was so long (in my opinion). As far as who are the millennials that some of the Generation Xers despise; First, I would take out the word “despise” when speaking for me and replace it with “disappointed in”, “don’t understand”, or “want to send to parenting classes”, depending on which millennials are around me.
      Where are they? Let’s start with the high schools. Follow me into any classroom at my kids’ HS and split the number of students in half. There’s one group. Now, go to any community dance school or gymnastic facility and sit amongst the parents watching their kids. You’ll spot them rather quickly. Next stop, the DMV. The millennials are the ones letting their kids chase each other in the lobby and crawl around on the filthy floor, tripping people that are walking by. Now turn your tv on to any reality show; pick any that have overbearing or neglectful parents or I understand from others that contestants from “The Bachelor” are good examples of obnoxious millennials. I can go anywhere within a 10 mile radius of my house and stand next to millennial entitlement, it’s nearly palpable. I know many older millennials that live at home with their parents and don’t make much of an effort to find work.

      These are just a few of the numerous places where you will find those millennials. I hope this will help you understand that they are out there, mixed-in with the great, respectful millenials who are a real benefit to our society.

    2. Phil McCracken1 year ago

      I believe immigration is the answer as to why their are so many millennials relative to Gen Xers with our low replication rate.

    3. Dixie Flatline1 year ago

      I’m a member of Generation X, and I don’t think any of us despise Millennials. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding any of the comments you’re talking about.

      We, as a generation have been tossed from one financial crisis to the next, always being told we’d never succeed, never own a home, and were lazy slackers – In the late 90s, all of the adults (Boomers) who had stomped on us for so long, suddenly decided it was time to praise the new generation of young people. For about a decade, all you ever heard was how amazing Millennials were. It was pretty much a decade of cringing, shaking our heads, and generally wanting to puke on anyone born after 1980… we don’t hold it against Millennials, it wasn’t even their fault, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

      1. Meg Boesch1 year ago

        Yes. What Dixie said! And I love the Neuromancer reference!

      2. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

        Exactly. We have been pretty much been told all our growing up lives to shut up and move on. I do not despise Millennials. I have three nephews who are Millennials.

        I just get a chuckle out of the arrogance and ignorance to think they have all these firsts when we Xers were right here pioneering the way.

        What I find a chuckle out of the long comment you responded to is it fails to understand Millennial are complaining, yet whenever we Xers complain again we are told how we are not unique. Millennials are ALL over Youtube creating vblogs telling us how the world should be and most laughably is they are basically telling us what they learned that day in school and telling it to us as if they are experts.

  12. Justin Pickering2 years ago

    The enlightened view of generational boundaries is that there are none. We’re all just people doing our best with the circumstances life and the world have laid before us. I’ve been alive nearly 40 years and one of the most damaging things organizations in my country (usa) does it to continually put people in boxes. White. Male. Gen X. Boomer. Latina. Black. Female. Our obsession with categorization robs us of something far greater and more beautiful: the ability to see one another as full people. I have no hope this dynamic will change in my lifetime. In fact, I feel it will only worsen and more walls will be thrown up between us.

    1. Heather Way2 years ago

      Well said, Justin! I am really tired of this meaningless categorization as well.
      So-called Genexer

  13. Shu Mookerjee2 years ago

    Thanks for the article, Paul. Very interesting and illuminating look at the statistics.

  14. GenX2 years ago

    I’m a late GenXer born in 75. in a way a microcosm of the whole generation since I tend to adopt some of the characteristics of the baby boomers and the millenials. I feel more connected to millenials in terms of technology usage, although I tend to use it for convenience or communication rather than self promotion. the one thing I hate about millenials is this constant “building your brand” mentality. They all think they are unique and will be the next big thing. some of us genXers are perfectly comfortable with the realization that we are not special and completely ordinary, which is ok. we don’t need a million followers to feel confident about ourselves

    1. Justin Moore2 years ago

      The millenials tout that they are so great at technology. HMMM the were 10 years old when windows became popular and learned how to text with smart phones in the 2000’s. as a generation xer we had to learn new technologies as they came out in the 70’s and 80’s. Our schools created the computer science hour where you had to work with technology so we could understand it. we completed the classes that were required and the taas test to finish high school. No one helped us study 8 hours a day 6 days a week just to pass a test. we were given 10 minutes of refresher a day for 6 weeks prior to the exam. i mean this was really easy stuff, any idiot who had been to school would know. Now they think they are the best thing since sliced bread because they memorized a test, were taught the test, and then passed it. I guess we have to understand their point of view, and over indulged generation of kids who think their parents are their best friends (which is strange in and of itself) to me. I think the best thing that can happen is that everyone can learn to accept differences of people, we are not all the same, we have grown up under different circumstances and that is what makes us unique, not that fact that we all went through a system supposed to create a certain type of person in robotic form.

      1. M Crue2 years ago


      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        Preach Justin’s!

      3. Meg Boesch1 year ago

        Right? They think they’re so technologically savvy because they have graphic user interfaces and can touch buttons on screens. Buttons, which, I might add, are self-explanatory because they are explained by text or an illustration. We had to know DOS! We had to memorize commands and manually type in directories! File sharing was NOT such a simple thing, and it took forever! But no, they’re the ones who are so great at using technology. You may as well compare someone who drives a stick (which almost NONE of them know how to do, either) to someone riding in the Google car! LOL

    2. Phil McCracken1 year ago

      “You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
      ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
      Fight club is the book that seems to me to pretty much sum up Gen X.

    3. Stephano Horse1 year ago

      I love you born in ’75. Well put. Good to read all comments. TY all! — Born in ’68, but 100% supportive of millenials (kids). Boomer leadership and horrible pillow talk habits stripped mined this country. Go Millenials! Fix this place. You have my vote. 🙂

  15. Bunny2 years ago

    As a Gen Xer, I despise baby boomers. They’re all so condescending, and they’re stupid to boot. The faster they retire and we can kick them to the curb, the better.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      As a Gen Xer, I can’t stand the me, me, me, Millennials and their sense of entitlement.

  16. G Masters2 years ago

    I always chuckle at the generational boundaries. The truth is, there are no definite boundaries. Depending on who you ask, I could be late Gen X or early Millenial. I was born in ’84. My Parents are Boomers, born in the late 40’s. We didn’t get participation trophies, played outside all day and came in when the street lights turned on. I didn’t have any video games. (Many of my friends did) we played cops and robbers with toy guns. And we made our money by raking leaves, shoveling snow, babysitting etc. We were, however, the first generation to have Facebook accounts, back when you needed a college email account to have a Facebook. I say that it was at that time when the Millenial generation really started to have some definition. I didn’t have a Facebook after high school because I wasn’t in college. I chose trade school. So my “Gen X work ethic” allowed me to have success in my trade without incurring massive student debt that is the bane of many a Millenial’s existence. I was married, had two kids, and bought a house all before the age of 30. Most of the parents at my son’s preschool are Gen X, and they had their kids 7-10 years later in life than I did. I was one of the last people to get a smartphone, simply because I wasn’t all that interested in becoming a tech zombie. And yet there were people that were several years older than me who fully embraced the social media and technology-focused culture that emerging around us. It’s an odd microgeneration that I belong to. I feel out of touch among Millenials, but The Gen X’ers who are now in their late 30’s and 40’s regard me as a young’un. I get it, I was only 5 when the Berlin Wall came down. I saw it all over the tv but I didn’t understand what any of it meant. All of a sudden, there was no more Soviet Union. Now it was Russia, and the guy in charge was a jolly guy named Boris Yeltsin. I wasn’t in middle school discussing it in class, I saw it through the eyes of a wide-eyed little kid. Whichever generation wants to claim me, I’m just glad I was old enough to enjoy the 90’s before everything REALLY changed.

    1. Justin Moore2 years ago

      i’m not sure that you were the first to have a facebook account really is a differentiator…everyone know knows what facebook is and started using it as it became popular. but it seems that you had an easy time of it finishing school starting a family and buying a house. My experience was much different.

    2. M Crue2 years ago

      We’ll take you as an Xer. Responsible, hard worker, and wasn’t just given things. I raked leaves for $ too, did countless hours of babysitting, washed cars, all kinds of stuff when I was a kid. My brother had a paper route when he was 12. We use to help him fold newspapers late at night and he’d be up at 5:00am, on his bike delivering the papers. He saved money and bought a stereo. Playtime and tv viewing was limited. I went to college full-time and at one time also had 4 jobs, all while earning a black belt. I barely slept, and you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. I was for the most part happy, and educated, loved, needed, and had self-respect.
      Welcome to a generation whose hard work paved the way for today’s millenial generation; the hard work that gets overlooked or goes unappreciated by many of that generation.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Well said my fellow Xer!!!!

    3. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      My fiancé was born in ’84 and hates being called a millennial for those reasons, too. He remembers a time without technology, land lines, odd jobs, and responsibility/ personal accountability. I was born in ’79 so I’m the very end of the Xers but remember hating the term as a kid because when my boomer parents discussed it, they used the terms ‘slackers’ and ‘self centered’ and made us sound like hopeless drifters… Uh, try just kids, maybe? Maybe we were tired of being left home while they partied and worked late. Maybe we knew they were squandering resources left and right and there wouldn’t be much left when it was ‘our turn’. (Incidentally, they don’t get that concept of handing it over AT ALL).

      When the Millennials popped up, I realized just how little time we had where anyone was paying attention. Now I’m proud to be part of Gen-X as I think we are far more grounded than the lofty boomers and not as much of a show pony as the millennials. The only thing that still frustrates me is that the boomers never got the concept of becoming a wise old sage and for all their metaphysical enlightenment, are being whiny brats about aging. I think Gen-X have consistently approached life stages with at least a resignation that it’s inevitable and we might as well make the best of it.

  17. Mister K2 years ago

    At the age of 68, I’m one of those who “can’t or won’t retire.” Half of the people I work with are young enough to be my grandchildren. No one at the workplace seems to resent my presence; in fact, I get a lot of respect. It all comes down to diversities in company culture and mood of management.

  18. Generation Next2 years ago

    The Millenials answers to the graphic above says it all.

    Work ethic don’t even crack their charts.


    But alas they are young and only starting in the careers, lets hope that attitude changes. 🙂

    1. Heather Way2 years ago

      God, oh so sadly true.

  19. Tee2 years ago

    So Baby Boomers and Millenials are both self absorbed? Great, our parents screwed everything up with their sense of entitlement and superiority and the young people want us to foot the bill to continue the pattern. Millenials aren’t original. I wore the same styles and said the same crap when I was 22. And it was vintage then, too.

    1. Justin Moore2 years ago

      original, the millenials look to remake everything from the past or affectionately titled (a reboot). i loved seeing the millenials trying to remake horror movies that were crappy and paled in comparison to the original. they can remake songs as well, but this does not make them any more entitled or special than anyone else. they have had the same experience every generation since x has had, but feel they are special because of all the doting that the boomers heaped upon them…

  20. jibberjabber2 years ago

    I am Gen X(born 1966). My single mother started leaving my sister and me alone when I was 6 and she was three. A sitter was not in our budget. I learned early to cook, clean, and teach my sister to talk, learn the alphabet, etc. I grew up fast and early. I was a ‘latchkey kid’ until I graduated high school. I paid for my own college education and worked my rump off. Now I’m in a company that has a median age of 55 thanks to the number of Baby Boomers that can’t or won’t retire. I have ideas about investing in our company growth, but the Baby Boomers tell me (laughingly) that they’re only interested in ‘keeping things going’ until they retire in another couple of years. And so our company stagnates. And the Boomer management (laughingly, again) tells us that it’ll be our problem ‘to clean up’ when they’re gone. Jeez

    1. Justin Moore2 years ago

      that’s exactly what their attitude is…they just want to get theirs as they are the me generation and have no concern for what comes down the road. your situation mirrors my own, i lived in a single working mother household with a dad who did very little for his children other than being late on child support payments. we moved every year so i never really spent all my time at one school until high school. and we basically raised ourselves.

  21. James Alan Fowler2 years ago

    I am a Generation Xer born since April 26 1971 I did not know much of the music genre I agree with you guys. Too can you define our music to me please sincerely James Alan Fowler/

    1. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

      Weren’t Gen Xers part of the MTV (and I hate to say it, VH1)generation? I grew up listening to all that 80s Heavy Metal/ so-called Hard Rock and a lot of Pop stars from the R&B genre. YouTube is loaded with Bon Jovi, Motley Crew, Metallica, Survivor, Megadeth, Cinderella, Guns n Roses, Skid Row, Great White, Journey, STIX, Foreigner to name just a few. Oh, and then we can’t leave out the Grunge era: Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Courtney Love etc. For Pop music, think of Richard Marx, Brian Adams, Breathe, Talking Heads, The Romantics, Laura Brannigan, Michael Jackson, Ray Parker Jr., Lionel Richie, Blondie, Tears for Fears, Kool and the Gang, J Geils Band… should I continue? There’s more, believe me, whether we liked the stuff or not… And yes, I’m a Gen Xer born in 1971. And yes, surprisingly most of the artists that made up our playlists were Baby Boomers.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        You forgot to mention the evolution of Hip Hop too. Spoken from an African American Xer born in December of 1970. Class of 1989.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          Ty for mentioning hip hop which I believe by far has the most gen x’ers than any other music genre.

  22. Linda Pilgrim2 years ago

    As a Gen X-er, this research sounds about right. It rings true to me. However, I think that two significant events/changes took place shortly after we completed our education and before we reached middle age: 1) The Internet

    We spent our school years being told that we were [constantly] preparing for our futures. Everything we were taught, we were told, would prepare us “for the future.” That made sense at the time. And, then, right after or at the tail end of our 20-25 years spent in school, the world changed dramatically in ways none of us could have imagined. The Internet has affected almost every aspect of our professional and personal lives. The world we had been prepared to meet in adulthood no longer existed. The details of daily life, especially communication, changed in overwhelming ways. Many of us were children before every home had an answering machine. I remember when people began to get VCRs. I remember parents talking about a new thing called voicemail at work. I remember the years before Oprah and “reality” television. I continue to be surprised, daily, by how infrequently the effects of these massive changes caused by the widespread roll out of the Internet–at the moment of Generation X’s transition from students to working adults–is acknowledged or researched.

    1. Chris Whittaker2 years ago

      Gen X. Young enough for Nintendo and Cable but old enough to remember a world without videogames and ESPN.

      1. Dana Jones2 years ago

        Wait, what was Nintendo before it was videogames??

      2. Justin Moore2 years ago

        i remember when we first got hbo in 1980…an atari in 1982…what a time…i didn’t learn the internet until 1995 and my partner had a computer with prodigy internet, but we used computers from 1978 onward…

      3. Dixie Flatline1 year ago

        World without video games? I think you must mean the brief lul between “the crash” of 83 and the nationwide rollout of the NES in 87. I was born in 1970, and I absolutely do not remember a world without video games 🙂

        Pong 1972, first coin op arcades 1974, first personal computers 1977, Atari 2600 1977, Space Invaders and the mainstream obsession with gaming 1978, Intellivision 1981, ColecoVision 1982, NES 1987… They were everywhere, and as far as I was concerned as a child, always had been. Most children weren’t even aware that the video game crash of 83 had even happened, because we never stopped playing.

        1. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

          That is why I laugh when I see Millennials post on my Facebook feed how they were the first for this or that.

          I was born 1967. I had an Atari 2600 in the 6th grade. Neighbor kid had a Colecovision. We also had handheld games from Mattel and Coleco. On the way home from middle school was a 7-11 and I never ate lunch. My Mom gave me a dollar for lunch. I instead played video games everyday. In HS my Mom gave me two dollars for lunch but I again did not eat lunch. We would go down to Castle Park and play video games. We stop at pool halls because they had an arcade, pizza places. And yes I had no idea of the video game crash till I read about it decades later. I went into the Army in 1985, bought an NES before it got popular, bought a crap ton of games. When I got out I bought a Super NES, Sega Genesis. When in the Army I had bought a Kaypro PC. I upgraded to a massively faster 386 when I got out of the Army.

          Point being, we Xers have been here through all these technology changes and media-wise it is portrayed like we all live on farms with horse driven plows and these millennials are going to come save the day.

    2. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      So true. I came out of college to a world that was completely different from the one I had been prepared to face. My education and skills were null and void and I spent another 5-7 years retraining myself to get up to speed. Just always felt behind the curve. For someone who had believed all I was told about ‘preparing for the future’, it was a real kick in the head. But I also remember feeling like no one was considering the reasons why… it was just an ‘oh well, deal with it’ attitude. No one wrote articles about it, that’s for sure.

      Boomers get to complain about everything and call it ingenuity or ‘trying to make the world a better place.’ When we complain we’re just told to stop complaining.

  23. peggy2 years ago

    I find the millennials technology snobbery (sort of) funny because isn’t it the GenXers who developed all that tech they are using?

    1. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      bingo! they’re the ultimate consumers. That doesn’t make them ‘smart’ in my book.

  24. Tuxedo Junction 752 years ago

    I think the biggest issue has been that we never really attempted greatness. It was just do what was necessary to secure a paycheck. Consumerism is what it was about. Most of the X’ers never really planted those roots of distinction. Sometimes they have to get planted and grow whether others see it or not. Once it’s grown enough believe me it stands out. By then it’s just a matter of nurturing it until its a grand tree. But this is something that has to start early in life. Part of the problem is too many X-ers were never given much of anything to expect. Being a sheltered knucklehead (my parents were a bit too traditionalist but oh, well) I took interests and hobbies early which I expounded on. And the roots of that labor are still a part of me to this day. I feel good about that without the least amount of bitterness or resentment. I think I took more after my grandfather in that respect, the silent generation. Just work hard and stay humble and let the work speak for itself. It’s much less stressful that way. And I found the better It got the better I wanted it to get. I don’t know….I feel pretty good about life and my roots. I rather enjoy working with the Z gen so far. They seem to enjoy a lot of the things I did as a child that were none to popular with the X folks….the easygoing music of the 60’s/70’s and the big band sounds of the 40’s during WWII. Good luck finding an X’er or a millennial for that matter who loves those sounds. But they reflect my keep it simple motto. It makes life is a lot clearer. And I still run the 200/400 meters as well with the college kids, so there is something to be said for health and wellness. I retired from the military and I found going back to college and staying in shape was a great way to keep a positive mindset as well.

    1. Shu Mookerjee2 years ago

      I don’t know if it’s that we never attempted greatness so much as that we never felt the need to crow about it. As you said, we worked hard and did our thing and let the work speak for itself. If we got accolades, great. If not…well that’s fine too.

      Every generation leaves its mark – that simply can’t be helped. Even we “slacker” Gen Xers have quietly influenced Pop Culture in music, TV and movies. We created Wikipedia and Google. Some of the best entrepreneurs are Gen X (Mark Cuban, Elon Musk and Mark Burnett, for instance). Jon Stewart and John Oliver continue to keep the Boomer-driven media and political system on notice. Girls still swoon over the 50 year old Lenny Kravitz and Brad Pitt. Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum have created empires from their modeling gigs.

      But not one of them jumped up and said “Look at me! I’m Gen X!” That’s the main difference.

  25. Darrell2 years ago

    It’s an interesting article. I now find myself wondering if my inability to relate to my parent’s generation and my inability to relate to the younger generation is based entirely on on the sort of ‘osmosis’ of indifference I developed while growing up. I grew up on the latchkey and learned to make do with what I had, without being given any of it. Self-reliance used to be considered a valuable trait; now it’s all about synergism and group unity. BARF.

    Social-wise, I seriously don’t care about what younger people care about, and I find their energy and urgency to be borderline offensive. Pack it in, it doesn’t matter to me. Go tweet about it, or whatever moronic interface you’re addicted to this week that facilitates communication without interaction.

    1. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

      I agree. Gen Xers made the “Whatever” T-shirt popular at one time, which kind of goes with what you’re talking about.

    2. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

      I was laughing so hard behind this comment: “Self-reliance used to be considered a valuable trait; now it’s all about synergism and group unity. BARF.”, that I started crying. I hate this about today’s jobs.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Group unity…….hilarious!

    3. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      Hilarious! ‘borderline offensive’… I AGREE

      When my career finally gained some traction, I last about two years in a traditional company environment where millennials were the sparkly new toy before I had to just leave and start my own company.

      The younger employees insisted on going off together to work in teams instead of sitting at their desks just getting it done.. and I’m pretty sure I was considered unfriendly (like that matters at work?!) for trying to just meet deadlines. Now I handle clients directly and have finally hit a stride where I’m in charge of my own achievement. Perfect scenario for a GenX’er 🙂

  26. Marquette2 years ago

    I’m gen x and work extensively with the public. Over the last 25 years of my work-life I have seen a huge shift in all aspects between one generation to the newest. The millennials don’t have the work ethic older gens do. They have a sense of entitlement that fair blows my mind, and seem more focused on drama than they are real-world concerns. And I’m especially talking about teens of today. A good half of the teens I see and interact with today have no social skills outside of texting and social media, thus making it hard to work with them. When you see a 10 or 12-year-old child running around with a cell phone texting all their friends and not interacting with people around them it’s a sad day in America. No child should be allowed to have a cell phone and less they can work and pay for it. But all too often parents today don’t make their children work for anything. The child simply sticks Their hand out and parents place things in it. So the teenagers of today and the children of today or going to grow up with a sense of entitlement is going to be worse. People can say anything that they want to about generational gaps but the one thing I have noticed in my extensive work with the public is that more parents are handing your children more things and the more they do this without requiring the child actually working earn it the more they are screwing up the child’s future. My generation was mostly made to work for what we got. Parents today need to do the exact same thing. It would make a huge difference in the future of this country and indeed the world as a whole. I realize that in today’s text savvy world there’s a lot to be had. I’m one of those people who absolutely love technology. The parents today need to make their kids use technology in moderation so that they develop better social skills face-to-face. As for the common I read about not letting a job define who you are or interrupt your life I’m sorry to have to inform you but that’s what jobs do. Not everyone who works at a job for years and years likes what they do but we all do what we must in order to survive. Somehow you have to find a way to make the best of it. We all have a life outside of the job. But in less you want to be homeless you have to make the job your priority because the job brings a paycheck and the paycheck keeps a roof over your head and food in your mouth. And I think this is one of the biggest problems between generation X and the millennial’s. The millennial’s don’t understand that you actually have to work for a living; that life is not all about The drama on Facebook or who’s doing what with whom. Life is about living each moment to its fullest and in order to do that you have to be financially stable. Life is not free. If more millennial’s understood this and work for what they thought you would earned more respect for yourselves in the long run. And don’t get me started on morals and ethics! It seems today’s youth has none. At least not like previous generations. And while I’m not going to sit here in town out that everyone should be straightlaced and square per se there is a huge difference in older generations and their morals and ethics and those of today’s millennials. People need to stop doting on the millennial’s and start looking at what’s really going on here: teenage pregnancy is in an all-time high and while I get that people back in the 1800s and even before then had children around the same age children of that era grew up faster than children today do. Life expectancy was only about 40 to 45 years of age. Today we have children having children. Today we have more people living on welfare and social services then who work for a living because they deem that doing such gives them a better life than anything they can work for. The problem is is that as this continues to happen we are going to end up living in a world where everyone sticks their hand out instead of working for what they get because each successive generation learns from the one before and each successive generation also has a whole new set of technology and ideas That no one in the previous generation tries to educate them about. We all love new things but sometimes just because you can doesn’t mean you should and that’s the biggest problem we face today

    1. Dana Jones2 years ago

      Many millennials will not be able to define themselves by a job, because the jobs will not be there. A great work ethic is a fine thing to have when there is a lot to do, but basing your self worth and identity on work and your work-related competencies is counter-productive in a world where your work is not sought after or valued. Those who worked hard to survive have a hard time accepting that the world is changing. Work for survival is no longer necessary or desirable. I understand not wanting to work to support people on welfare, but do you realize that most millennials that are unemployed are either too young to work, or have parents that can afford to support them. Would you work if you did not have to work? Would you work if you had to fight for a job when someone else might need that job, but you do not need it? The world has changed. Having a strong work-ethic was an important part of getting to this new world, but it does not have a real place in it.

    2. Justin Moore2 years ago

      I think it is fine to talk about a work ethic, but the circumstances that lead to work problems have been around for the past 20 years. businesses focusing on profits above the needs of human capital. we all learned to work for what we needed as we grew older or you wouldn’t have anything, but businesses have continually downsized and wanted cheaper labor so they can add to their profits, get great bonuses and increased stock price.

    3. Kevin Moloney1 year ago

      You are absolutely wrong on the teen pregnancy rates, in fact they are about as low as they have ever been. There is actually a concern that that US birth rates overall are TOO low in terms of population stagnation. But the teen rate especially is low, and indoctrinated by those who tell the teens that their life will be over if they have kids too early.


  27. Vick2 years ago

    I feel that the Generation Xer and have screwed Millenials around with their drug use and lack of education, which milllenials have had to have more education to get jobs that only required a high school diploma or AA now you have an Bachelor or Mastets because there are too many people who are not qualified for the job. Also we have to pass extensive background and drug test because you guys did a lot of drugs, which your Silent Generation and Baby Boomer parents introduced you to it and thus it passed down to us Millenials. The Baby Boomera have passed laws requiring standards to be followed by our Gen X teachers which has made graduating high school and getting into college harder. Since the Baby Boomers believed in giving every Gen Xer’s a home that they cannot afford, we had the housing market crash and now a dream of owning a home is out of the question for Millenials. Gen Xer’s come from divorced homes and now most at single parents raising up kids who are now singles parents. When I was elementary school I was told we would be the her ration who will have it the hardest and will have to have a higher education and have frequent unemployment.y senior yet in high school, my government teacher told us most of us will not be able to afford a home since the housing market will always be fluctuating. So yeah Millenials may be spoiled, entitled, slackers, but who made us that way.

    1. Donna2 years ago

      I would absolutely love to respond to this … if only I could translate it into English.

      1. sau nguyen2 years ago


      2. Heather Way2 years ago

        Bravo, Donna!

    2. Justin Moore2 years ago

      as a generation xer, i never had seen any drugs until i substitute taught for an in school suspension class (one guy had a roach clip and some pot). you heard about all the drugs, but in actuality i didn’t know of anyone who did them…

  28. Gen X Jack2 years ago

    As a proud member of the “why bother” generation. I find myself relating more to boomers than millennials. Boomers at least ‘had’ values once. They can look back on a time and spin yarns about a life when they were trying to change the world, and not just trying to squeeze another 4% out of their 401k before the retire to some coastal city to write a book.
    The new gang, Millennials, is just too happy. Too bouncy. Too hedonistic. My generation had so suffer through two decades of AIDS scare, while the new kids get to sex (t) it up seemingly without worry due to a host of pharmaceuticals. Most have ascended to adulthood by the time they are 10. With unparalleled creature comforts and enough distractions to distract them from their other distractions.
    X’ers were all about escapism from a bleak world. Our youth came in a time when “hero’s” first started to have the covers pulled back from their lives from an unrelenting and uncaring media. We found ourselves with quite literally nothing to believe in. Millennials seem to embrace everything equally; nothing sacred, nothing taboo. The generation that contributes nothing, yet consumes everything.
    Nope. Not much has changed since my angst laden teenage 90’s. I still cringe daily at the world we live in, and the ever growing dumpster fire into which it spirals.

  29. GenGuy2 years ago

    Seems to be a little confusion these days among the acceptable dates of Generation X and Generation Y. There seems to be a new phenomenon going on these days of shortening the years of Generation X in order to “beef” up the numbers for the Millennial generation, obviously, since a significant portion of the Millennial population is still not in the workforce as of yet or have achieved adult status (according to the original definition of Gen Y).

    The traditional definition of Generation X was 1965-1985 while Generation Y didn’t even begin until 1986. In most countries around the globe (Singapore, China, Philippines, parts of Europe, Middle East, etc.), this still measurement is still in place.

    The act of the modifying the dates according to mere life experiences is rather foolish in my opinion as I could easily break Generation X (and others) into several different generational segments if we wanted to, while ignoring the original method of measurement by 20 years that has existed for thousands of years.

    Not too mention, if we return to the original standard of measurement, we would find that this would connect beautifully from the inception of this country in 1776, hence the reason we use to abide by such.

    Stop the confusion and lets return back to the basics….

    1. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

      I was in that argument on a youtube video about that person not liking the term millennials.

      20 years is simply standard. The two guys who coined the term Millennial rebranding Gen Y simply moved the date up to 1982 so that the first of Gen Y would come of age, ie 18 in the year 2000 but there is no reason to do this.

      So now Gen X gets crunched into this smaller demographic while Millennials get overbloated. What was interesting were all the Millennials enter the fray offended for the date being moved back to what it was.

  30. Gen x2 years ago

    Perhaps Generation X is a smaller Generation because we were all aborted when abortion rates were higher in the 60s and 70s. Is that why we are gen X? Is that why we are not spoken of with any high regards? I just want to know why we are not that imporant as other generations that are written about.

    1. Jacqueline Homan2 years ago

      The reason we’re ignored is because we’re a small generation that is book-ended by two significantly larger generations, so we’re less important to politicians, media, and those who market goods and services.

    2. Jon-Paul2 years ago

      I agree. After all, we fought a war for everyone.

    3. Justin Moore2 years ago

      i could have been one of those aborted babies. my mom told me stories about the doctor continually asking her if she wanted to have an abortion, because it was becoming legal in the country. she continually said no she did not want an abortion…

  31. Ned McDonnell2 years ago

    Whoops, as a boomer par excellence, I just mistakenly deleted my many words of wisdom (sic) and wit (sick). To be brief, I have one question and six thoughts.

    The question: ¿Do the Amish think about these things?”

    The thoughts…
    1. All three generations are groups of people: the good, the bad and the bland.
    2. Many of the differences are rooted in large and systemic changes crashing in on generations (divorce rates, the pill, two-income families, latch-key kids, political corrosion, personal computers, social networks, etc.).
    3. Boomers were optimistic in the 1960s but turned selfish in the 1970s.
    4. Xers were adaptable in the 1980s but often came across as impostors in the 1990s.
    5. Millennials learn less yet know more thanks to tech savviness but are often isolated.
    6. The generational trend, as I see it, is that each generation is more atomized and less secure than the one or two preceding it.

    Quick aside on learning at any age: I worked with many Xers and older Millennials, who were serving the United States of America in the Army and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. These younger brothers and sisters in uniform, as a group, endured multiple tours and proved themselves as great as the ‘greatest generation’. They taught me, a life-long and complacent civilian, an improtant lesson. American exceptionalism may not exist; exceptional Americans surely do at any age. Thus, I salute their service to my country and thank them for making me a better human being.

    In closing, boomers appear to like Millennials over Xers for three simple reasons, rooted in the fundaments of human nature.
    a. seeing the world as an extension of oneself (i.e., Xers think they are being slighted and are more prone to perceive that);
    b. feeling threatened by the rising generation (i.e., the boomers vis à vis the Xers; we are Grindel and the Xers are Beowulf); as well as, by analogy,
    c. parents usually trying not to spoil their children but grandparents usually delighting in spoiling their children’s children.

    1. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      Your analysis is fair and balanced. Also, very accurate.

  32. Fred P.2 years ago

    I’m proud to be a Gen-Xer. Yes, we may be a small, “dark horse” Generation, just like our parents, The Silents, remember them, they were the 50s Generation who actually invented Rock & Roll, NOT the Baby Booms in the 60s.

    I hate how Baby Boomer “demographers” cut off our years and tell us that we are only from 1965 to like 1979-1980 while the Booms range from what, 1945-1964 and the Y’ers/Millenials from 1981-2000.

    But I’m proud of the fact that we are quietly working behind the scenes, inventing and improving everything from Indie Rock, Hip Hop, the Internet to E-commerce, cell phones, the biggest websites like Google, craft beers to creating a greener, better planet. Yes the self-entitled Millennials (who I actually like, I see them as kid brothers and sisters), lay claim to a lot of that, but it’s us Gen Xer’s who made it happen in the 1990s and early 2000s. We don’t need to shout it from the roof tops unlike the Boomers though

    And as for the Booms….well……What a nasty bunch of arrogant, mean-spirited narcissists. The generation that was “going to change the world” changed it alright….for the worst…Thank them for the ugly gridlock in Politics, thank them for a culture of cold hearted greed, thank them for the “culture wars”, thank them for creating debt & deficits that will take decades to pay off , thank them for refusing to get off the stage (think Leno & Letterman being finally shoved off). Good riddance to this nasty lot.

    Yup, I may “inconsequential” to “demographers”, but I’m so very happy to be a Gen Xer! 🙂

    1. HollyAnna2 years ago

      Hell, I’m just glad to NOT be a millenial. Thank goodness for the ’78 birthday.

      1. jondubb352 years ago

        I agree! 1978ers unite!!

    2. Robin campos2 years ago

      Right on!

    3. Justin Moore2 years ago

      much of what you say is correct. the way i see it, is the boomers won’t or can’t retire, which would have opened up jobs for the generation xer’s to take high level positions in corporations, and that would have opened up positions for the millenials to take. it hasn’t happened that way as the boomers are still working. and with the debt being run up to 19 trillion currently, and deficits of 474 billion a year, it looks as though the answers to the debt problem are not going to be fun…business has made money and supported the stock market with profit taking and such without any regard for the societies upon which they earn their money. Now they are going to try to move their headquarters overseas to avoid paying the higher taxes of the united states. It is a never ending spiral of greed that has led us to this situation. people making 300k per year and wondering how they were going to live on 150k as their salaries dropped during the recession…is an example of the ridiculousness of what has happened. for a generation that was given so much benefit of the doubt, the boomers, they have no care for what happens to future generations as long as they get theirs.

  33. Rods-N-Cones2 years ago


    Being gen-x means you went directly from everybody 15 years older than you treating you like you’re stupid, to everybody 15 years younger than you treating you like you’re stupid, without getting the 20 or 25 years of respectable adulthood that most other age-cohorts get.

    Gen-x had some of the worst SAT scores in history because of a lack of investment in schools following the big investment in schools for the boomers following sputnik. School for gen-x was like showing up at a popular restaurant just before closing, with the detritus of the party in evidence and the staff too tired to provide adequate service. Most of the menu items eighty-sixed.

    Careers for gen-xers was about being all dressed up with nowhere to go. Many of us achieved all of the credentials necessary for our career but spent our careers fruitlessly waiting for the log-jam to clear. Many ahead of us didn’t need to have any credentials, never paid their dues and got grandfathered from having to participate in annoying continuing education requirements.

    1. Mary Ann Spencer2 years ago

      That’s it in a nutshell, Rodsncones. How depressing.

    2. Sara G.2 years ago

      Gen X’er born in the late 70’s. I never went to college and worked my way up from a receptionist. I have friends who still have student loans.
      Your comments pretty much summed it up.

    3. Jaydandy2 years ago

      One of the most brilliant summations of the Gen X predicament (such as it is) that I’ve read. Well done!

    4. Kagi2 years ago

      Yes, that’s pretty much it.

    5. Ella2 years ago

      Truth! kind of a sucky time to grow up honestly and we will probably go out without so much as a memorial special on channel 8 but that’s ok let the next generation figure it out. They seem to think they already have.

      1. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

        Sadly, this is the post that definitely speaks loudest to me:)! Thanks, Ella.

    6. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      nailed it.

  34. Tony2 years ago

    As a Gen X’er, I totally agree with a lot of these comments. I hate to sound like an old person but the Millennials and pretty much everyone who came after us are so spoiled. It seems they never had to follow a rule or a dress code, or have never even heard the word no. I will say the baby boomers gave us way better entertainment as far as music and television. I’m embarrassed to say that we contributed things like hip-hop or Breaking Bad. I’m just glad that I was at least part of a generation that could get by without a phone or a computer,and and also part of the generation that did not necessarily expect things like a college degree.I love what the gentleman said a few months ago about Saturday morning cartoons and just playing all day. They could just stick us out on the front lawn with a hose and a Slip n slide and we’d be totally happy. Also, a lot of us were kids even into junior high and maybe high school. These kids are dressed and treated as adults from kindergarten now a days and unfortunately most of the parents are my fellow Generation Xers. It just seems like these kids expect to have all this stuff and all these rights, whereas mine was the last generation to understand that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes.

    1. Sam2 years ago

      TL;DR posted at bottom.
      Spoiled?? We’re the first generation that’s expected to make less than our parents (gen x) because our parents (gen x) were fiscally irresponsible, took on too much debt and generally caused the economic collapse. We value independence over a large paycheck and refuse to have our lives dictated by a job we hate. Why do we do this? Because generations before us tried working for money and not independence and it obviously was not satisfying (check Fight Club, among other works of gen x movies and art). As a result, we expect employers to also know that there is more to life than just work. Maybe that’s where you get the “spoiled” label. forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2014/…
      (side-note, our valuing independence still helps us meet our economic needs. Basically, the institutions that governed social control before no longer work because our economic paradigm is defined by the activity of software engineers, graphic designers, and the like. Institutional control stifles vital creativity, therefore, we value uniqueness and independence in part because that’s actually a gateway to economic advancement as well as happiness.) Basically we do follow rules, new rules that your generation wished it had, again, evidenced by 90’s movies like Fight Club and American Beauty. These films showed a generation dissatisfied with how society functioned. We rewrote the rulebook and actually started valuing independence over money, which actually brought us more money. That’s far more brave than just making movies about it, and having to set up that way of thinking despite a lack of approval from generations ahead of us is far from spoiled.

      On your entertainment point, there’s no arguing. It’s all subjective. Breaking Bad is universally praised, if you don’t like that then that’s your opinion, cool. Don’t try to use it as a way of saying one gen. is inferior to another.

      The phone and computer thing a couple responses.
      1) You cannot honestly tell me that if you took any other generation and gave them the technology we’ve had from birth that they would behave any differently. Older generations now even have jumped into this kind of behavior, they just haven’t been exposed to the technology for as much of their lives.
      2) That technology increases efficiency. By a lot. I can route my way home from work to circumvent traffic. I can learn how to fix my sink on youtube in five mins, Google words I don’t know and research anything I want or need to. We can get by without them, just like anyone else. Older generations benefit from this, but we have a better command of the technology. We can tap into it more effectively and as a result our “command of technology (makes us) a threat to older workers who (are) less familiar with it.” cnbc.com/id/102599942

      The college degree thing: Expect one? I mean, I guess we expect a college degree in the same way previous generations expected a high school diploma… because that’s what a bachelors is now. forbes.com/sites/robertfarringto… (wonder why we’ve started to opt out of college to start businesses)
      The problem with this is that we have to deal with rapidly inflated costs, a student debt crisis, coupled with the fact that degrees no longer guarantee a level of income needed to pay for the education. 17 million degree holders work jobs that don’t even require a degree. nytimes.com/2011/05/19/business/…

      Why would we expect so much when a mismanagement of resources and values makes it so this generation has to fix so much? A broken education system, broken value system on multiple levels (money vs independence detailed earlier, we’re by far the most socially progressive generation ever, etc.).

      What exactly do you think we expect or that we think we’re guaranteed? We think we deserve happiness so we work for a new value system to support that. We think tech literacy is important, so we stay up to date. We think the college system is broken and now we are starting to strike out on our own rather than go into crippling debt (or we work our way through school at a record rate marketwatch.com/story/nearly-4-o…). And if you think any of that describes a spoiled generation, you must be delusional. Our generation has accomplished what gen X literally dreamed about (had to be said, yet again).

      TL;DR: really? It’s like five paragraphs, you’re that lazy?

      1. Louie2 years ago

        Yeah, and you Millennials are doing a bang up job.

      2. Justin Moore2 years ago

        the debt was run up by the boomers and silent generation that were part of political office. as a generation xer we tried to save for retirement, but you had a recession in 2001, another in 2008, and constant job cuts or finding ways to pay employees less and less. that’s why the boomers like the illegals, they will work for next to nothing and somehow live on it…

      3. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago


        I am a 1967 Xer. Millennials like to claim they are the first at so much shit. here is what I was told when I entered High School in 1981.

        We would be the first generation to do worse than the previous.
        We would be expected to have no less than FIVE careers meaning no more get a job and work for that same company till retirement.

        We became known as the Skeptics because we thought the system rigged. We pushed for changes. You are blaming a lot of shit on us that is not our doing. Most of us are not pushing to be bazillionaires. We simply do not want to keep living paycheck to paycheck. I walk to work to live not live to work. This is what happened to us as we started to enter the workforce in the 1980s. The 1990s were as well no peaches and cream for us either. We have experienced stagnant wages for decades. We have been the hardest hit economically with one recession after another. Our careers thrown into outsourcing when the 2000s came. Governor Ronald Reagan of California ended tuition free college in my state. Boomers experienced that. By the time we went to college this no longer existed and tuition was rising with again income not rising.

        You are largely talking out the side of your ass. You get called spoiled because you overvalue yourselves to what your abilities actual are and feel entitled to more than you are worth. Rewrite the rules. LOL, good one.

    2. Dana Jones2 years ago

      What makes you think that Millennials have FEWER rules than Gen X’ers? If you put your child on the lawn with a hose and a slip and slide now, Child Services will come arrest you… Dress codes? Almost all public schools have dress codes now. When I was in school (I am a Gen X’er), I could wear blue jeans to school.

      1. Justin Moore2 years ago

        the schools implemented dress codes so kids wouldn’t have to worry about being cool or wearing the right clothes…i remember school and clothes shopping for it where levi’s were a standard along with jean jackets…and everything being a way to express yourself…we grew up listening to the tail end of the boomer generation in their twenties and watching tv shows like the bionic woman and wonder woman, welcome back, kotter, one day at a time…then watching dynasty and soap operas in the eighties…or even little house on the prairie in reruns…those were the days. then started to work in 1989 for the pitiful minimum wage at the time…and the nightmare began as the work world did not provide for us like the boomers before us…

    3. Heather Way2 years ago

      Wow, Tony, I completely relate to your post. (My mom allowed me to slip and slide down the driveway with dish detergent added to the water!)

  35. Mike M2 years ago

    I think that this is a fair assumption of generation x, however I feel we are stronger in computer skills than people think.I was born in 1974 and remember my mother buying me the Odyssey instead of Atari in 1982 and it had a simple keyboard but I remember thinking what if I could type in anything I wanted to see and it would come up. That my friend was a prequel to the internet that I had as a child

    1. Stephen2 years ago

      I have to agree with you. We had the same basic computer exposure in k-12 that a Millennial had, but with less focus on playing games, and more on using the command line and programming in BASIC. I was born in 1970, and the computer lab at my middle school was full of Commodore Pets and TRS-80s (all of which were already about 4 years old). When we had computer day, we didn’t fire up educational software, we wrote code, and at lunch the computer room was left open to us, and we swarmed it _every day_.

      We were also the first to embrace the Internet in the mid 90s (even in the 2000, 70% of children born after 1980 didn’t have Internet access at home, while 75% of did). We were also the first adults to play video games as a regular part of our day. The Sega Genesis was released in 1989 and we were its target market (teens and college students), and the PS1 was released in 1995 with a target demo of 18 to 34 year olds.

      I don’t think Boomers really appreciate how important digital technology was to us as children and young adults, and Millennials lack the experience to understand that early 8-bit computers were very capable machines. Trying to explain the appeal of Zork, Wizardry, or Ultima (much less an Atari 2600) to a Millennial or a Boomer is pretty much impossible, because they don’t have the same relationship to the basic hardware that we have.

      I’d also like to remind everyone that we were the best educated generation in US history prior to Millennials (I’m still not convinced that they have us beat, as we were taught to be lifelong learners, and the 18-22 college experience wasn’t something we fully embraced).

  36. Jason2 years ago

    If there is an early benchmark for Generation X as teenagers, it was the Challenger explosion in 1986; and the collapse of communism in 1989. AIDS was still a death sentence.

    Most of Generation X spent their twenties book-ended by two Bush administrations and the surreal Clinton years in between.

    We have a very strong and sleek “independent” streak in us concerning politics. A good portion of Generation X may lean one way, or another…..but most view political leaders with a very healthy dose of skepticism; as they should be viewed.

    Most of us remember when no one wore bicycle helmets. No one wore seat-belts; after Saturday-morning-cartoons were over….you went outside to play until it got dark out or “streetlights” came on. It didn’t matter if it was 20 below outside either. For those of us who came from two parent homes……we watched out mothers go back to work in the early 1980’s full-time…..and we became “latchkey” kids (parents would wake you up before they went to work……..you would dress yourself, get on the bus by yourself, deal with school….come home, unlock the door…..help set up or prep for dinner…have chores, start your homework and supervise your younger siblings…and NEVER…NEVER open the door for ANYONE); today that would probably be considered “horrific child abuse” by many social critics today 😉

    We are not about traveling in huge packs; or having some sort of “collective” attitude like the generation before and…ugh….the generation after us (perhaps having that would have actually helped us in competing for scant resources and actual media coverage )

    Impact on the world? We were handed a world (USA) where the older generation called us “slackers” while they took all the cookies, built a fence around it and kept us out; then told us we just were not working hard enough…………while spoiling the generation behind them giving them credit and “gold stars” for just showing up……..

    Who knows? 🙂

    Grunge music is dated, rave culture was an excuse to do LSD………..most of Generation X just went to work, accepted at an early age that we were going to have less than our parents (and most of us don’t care). Most of us don’t need recognition, and awards……the only solid values many of us have came from our grandparents (WW II generation).

    Our Generation has a very strong and solitary feel to it, and no; we’re not a cohesive force in politics or culture……but most of us do have fulfilling lives.

    1. Lando_Bro2 years ago

      What amazes me about Generation X is how we share so many common experiences, regardless of gender, race or sexuality. That blows my mind. I love what you say about Saturday morning cartoons and staying out until dark. That is so common among us, across the board. But, really everything you say is dead on. And you’re right, we just don’t care what others think about us. We just go on. Because that’s what we’ve always done. We do it through the greed of the Boomers and the whining entitlement of the Millenials. We may be called Generation X, but really, we are the Amazing Generation.

      1. elle2 years ago

        The survivors, for sure. I survived my parents divorce at six and grew up the eldest in a single parent home. I was a latch key child that had to grow up fast and not expecting a lot, etiher. It really struck a chord in me that someone said we accept that the only guarantee in life is death and taxes. So true.

        1. topazgirl1702 years ago

          I completely agree. I was the only child of single mom, middle class income too(didn’t marry until I was 15 years old). I am african american and I was a latch key too. Grew up on Friday Night videos, MTV, John Hughes films and etc. I was lucky, but alot of my friends grew up in households where they were ignored and just given things. I think our gen appreciates thing more. Very independent, highly skeptical of authority(which Gen Y accepts authority). Loved when the WWW became public. Does anyone anyone remember web page servers and chat rooms like excite.com?

          I’m proud of Gen. I feel we were the last american generation to have a real childhood because we experienced so much upheaval in the 80s and 90s. Best music though.

    2. RDV2 years ago

      Very good post. I like how you point out that the only solid values we learned were from our grandparents. Many of us are the children of the love generation. Then those boomers took what was beautiful and morphed into the me generation in the 1970s. They divorced en masse and tried to relive their youth in the disco, leaving the kids at home to their own devices.

    3. Shannon Hollenbeck2 years ago

      One thing about being sandwhiched politically… They can’t blame the mess the world is in on us. There aren’t enough of us to drive the directions it’s heading.

      If we did half the things with our kids our parents did with us. There would be twice as many foster kids today… just sayin. Spankings, staying home unsupervised, running the neighborhood unsupervised (although then we really weren’t because we knew our neighbors) riding in the back of pick up trucks. The list is pretty long actually.

      Sam no offense but on average millennials aren’t half as independent as Generations Xers and not near as respectful to others. You’re also the most prone of all adult generations living to want to government to set up a programs to solve our problems… with money it doesn’t have mind you. If the insanely growing debt isn’t an argument for less government I don’t know what it is.

    4. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      It is really amazing that there’s such a shared experience. Your bit about boomers taking all the cookies and then building a wall to keep us out (Gen X) rings so true with me. I always felt my parents were in some other realm having the time of their lives while just telling me to clean my room. And most times I felt like I was their parent… emotionally, anyway. I had immense respect for my grandparents and remember trying to model myself like them, instead.

  37. j2 years ago

    Low fertile rate. How about roe vs wad and the loss of political clout.

  38. Bill2 years ago

    Why can’t we stop stereotyping and hating each other based on our generation, and get back to hating each other based on the old-fashioned values of race, religion and ethnicity?

    1. Bennett2 years ago

      Best comment on this page.

    2. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

      Apparently, the latter never died out… at least according to the media.

    3. Justin Moore2 years ago


  39. Demo2 years ago

    You wrote “Gen Xers have also gotten the short end of basic generational arithmetic. Due partly to their parents’ relatively low fertility rates, there are fewer of them (65 million)”.

    However, Jon Miller at the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the University of Michigan wrote that “Generation X refers to adults born between 1961 and 1981″ and it “includes 84 million people” in the U.S. See lsay.org/GenX_Rept_Iss1.pdf

    That’s how you get to 320 million people in the U.S.

    1. Justin Moore2 years ago

      so why were we suppose to prepare for this wave of millenials that were coming back in 2008. i remember a discussion about it at university of phoenix, how they were expecting so many enrollments due to millenials not being able to be handled by the community college system. according to your figure for generation x, and the millenials being 77 million, we have a larger population of people than both the boomers and the millenials, when compared separately.

    2. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

      That is because he is wrong. Baby Boomers are defined from 1945-1964 from HARVARD. This is known as the Peace Years. It was when troops came home from WWII and well had a lot of babies, hence baby boom. It is also why the Korean War is known as the Forgotten War (1950-1953). Why 1964? Because not just that it is 20 years which is a standard mark but because in 1965 kicked off Viet Nam.

      Gen X (Baby Busters) is 1965-1984. Gen Y is 1985-2004. Very early 90s two gents rebranded Gen Y as Millennial and MOVED the start day to 1982 because they wanted the first to come of age, ie 18 in 2000 hence the term Millennial.

      Since then others keep dicking with the date which jacks up what Baby Boomers actually are and Gen X.

  40. Necko2 years ago

    I’m gen x and our biggest fault is we aren’t team players since society gave us modern technology and media to grow up with, thus learned to mind our own business, therefore the individualistic streak – and low ambition to enter history as a generational game changer. I blame the fact that social internet media came too late. The only way to get gen x’ers together were cultural happenings. Raves and concerts were the only way aside from socio-political to have +10000 people synchronised to the same message. We are the generation to have replaced megalomania of the older generations with selfishness and narcissism. The consolidation of the world as we know it now a days took place but there was no “The age of Aquarius” as someone sung it any more.

    1. ZoomZoomDiva2 years ago

      Disagreed. While we were raised with a rebirth of individualism and self-dependence, we have not had the numbers to be a generational game changer, our voices simply have been continually drowned out.

    2. Shu Mookerjee2 years ago

      I think our biggest failing is that we learned too late the value of “shameless self promotion”. We team and lead just as well as Boomers or Millennials. We’re just not prone to either grandstand or Tweet about it.

      As a proud Gen Xer, I was always taught that hard work will have its own reward. Yet early in my corporate career, I wondered why I kept getting passed over for promotion. I always had good results and was known as one of the top in my field. Then one day my manager (also Gen X) gave me the secret; “You need to talk yourself up to get ahead.” Doing so made me extremely uncomfortable. I felt that I was bragging or boasting. Unfortunately, I’ve learned this is a needed survival skill.

      I finally got that management gig and, characteristic of our generation worked hard, had strong results and led in my field. Three years later, I left the manager gig for a more satisfying job in the same company. I’m happier, make more money and actually have more influence in my company.

      Naaah…we team just fine. We just don’t shout about it. Nor do we care to.

      1. Justin Pickering2 years ago

        Great comment Shu. Self promotion is embarrassing but necessary. I have a skill that not a lot of people have… I speak many languages and work in international sales. My numbers break records, so I don’t have to promote myself nor would I because it would only alienated the mid 20s people I work with. Those kids want leaders – not some pompous douche prattling on about how great they are. Possibly the biggest issue in the USA in my lifetime has been lack of leadership. The curtain has been pulled back and everyone knows the captain of the ship is a liar. All you can do is tend to your own front door. The rest of it is so huge… like how my sales in Brazil were affected by the recent impeachment hearings of the president. I don’t go along with Gen X being humble at all though. Jon Stewart is a blow hard and Brad Pitt’s efforts in New Orleans were only celebrated by the liberal media. The actual people down there suffering did not appreciate it as much as you’d think. My point is that none of what is discussed on this thread is able to be placed neatly into a little box. We’ve created a world that is completely interconnected and we are reaping the benefits as well as the whirlwind of that dynamic. Further, no one knows what the future will bring, but if we can meet that future with honesty, integrity and authenticity, we may just be able to tackle our REAL problems: failing education system, wars no one wants to be in, over population, water shortages, income disparity, on and on…. like I said… real problems… not social problems that are largely quibbles over philosophical constructs that have become outdated.

  41. Mike2 years ago

    I love this topic. Mike & The Mechanics told us, “every generation blames the one before”. Sounds reasonable but there is so much more when you start looking at the numbers and the results. I don’t particularly like assigning characteristics to certain groups but this assessment seams fair. Not all boomers are self-indulgent weenies but they often welcome it (30 Something). There are good and bad employees from all groups. That has more to do with disposition. T ur ds tend to float together. “Ignored” is probably the best description for xers. Even Reagan, the great communicator, moved our social security max back to age 67′ before most of us could vote. “Do it before they can fuss. It’ll be good for their self-reliance but better for us to fund our retirement ages at 59&64. Xer’s have never been targeted by the media or marketed to. That is an absolute truth. It’s why we have to suffer through an endless collage of classic Rock radio stations. Yeah I like and appreciate Zeppelin but I don’t own any of their albums. Why? They are on the radio 24/7! But some boomers get it. Dio said, “we’re the last in line….see how we shine!” So it’s not a brick wall. Self-reliant? You bet! It’s why we seem aloof. We really don’t care about your foybels and peccadillos but we will listen if it makes you happy. Some researchers have the busters generation starting in 58′ when the last of the boomers birthrate was really starting to tumble. Some call the last of the boomers “generation joneses”. Obviously, the lines are blurred. For sure, what worked for the boomers isn’t going to work for us. As the boomers fade away into history they will create natural deflation. All of their “stuff” comes back on the market. Homes and durable goods will stay cheap for a time. Some boomers are now buying their last car. We should enjoy cheap housing and used autos for a time. See….it’s not all bad. Maybe the most troubling number is that the highest suicide rate now belongs to make xer’s…40-44. I guess we have to take the good with the bad like everyone else.

    1. John2 years ago

      Gen X’s song would be “Stuck in the Middle.” We aren’t going to be coddled and pandered to because we don’t have the numbers, but we do have the leadership abilities which will allow us to seize the day. Rather than being followers, we will be the leaders and, if we are able to keep our wits about us, we should be able to do the heavy lifting and hard work needed to keep this all from going to hell in a handbasket. I love how many say the Millenials will be the next “Greatest Generation,” which the reality is that Gen X will likely be that next one because we are going to have to make sacrifices and hard choices to keep the world afloat and from fracturing into a million pieces. The Boomers who are still in charges are getting angry nobody is listening to them anymore, so they are acting out and wanting to take their toys and go home.

      1. Justin Pickering2 years ago

        So let the Boomers go home. It’s time they stepped down with some dignity, if at all possible considering their iterations of Congress and many powerful CEOs raped the country in so many ways too numerous to list here, but that we all know too well.

      2. Justin Moore2 years ago

        how would the millenials be the greatest generation? they were given everything by their doting parents and grand parents. received participation trophies and were taught they were special and entitled. i believe that the generation xer’s will be the most influential as they are the individuals who created the large majority of the millenials.

  42. Timbo timbo2 years ago

    does gao do anything valid?

  43. Ericaz2 years ago

    I’m gen x and this article is stupid. We invented the grunge seen,we saw the berlin all fall,we know that patriotic feeling in our bones every time rocky knocks out that russian,then we graduated and started to acclimate. Our first election was stolen by the bush family and we all knew it was never going to be ok again. Then sept 11 happened,we watched as all the older ppl in piwer became paranoid and took away our freedoms out of fear. Our generation is so much more significant. This article is absolute bull!!!

    1. X-mensch2 years ago

      1) Scene, not “seen”.
      2) First Gen-X election would have been in the Clinton years, pre-2000.
      3) Power, not “piwer”.

      Try proofreading yourself before you put stuff out there when claiming to represent an entire generation. Dont make us look worse than “they” already think we are.

      1. T.S.2 years ago

        lol! Thank you for that reply! Sounds like a millennial trying to pretend they grew up Gen X. Clinton indeed 🙁

        1. Michael LaHonta2 years ago

          Good call!

      2. SS2 years ago

        Really? Actually you are both wrong. If you were born at the beginning of gen-x, in 1965, you would have been able to vote in the 1984 election (Reagan’s second term). I was born in 1967 and voted in in the 1988 election (George H. W. Bush v Walter Mondale). You’d have to be born well into the gen-x date range for Clinton (1992) to be your first election.

        1. Edward2 years ago

          Actually, Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro ran against Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in 1984 (the first election in which I was eligible to vote). Michael Dukakis ran against George H.W. Bush in 1988.

    2. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

      The first Xers to come of age could vote in the 1984 POTUS elections. I turned 18 in 1985. My first POTUS election was 1988 which was George HW Bush. Is that guy the guy you speak of? wink

  44. Teri G2 years ago

    I think all this age bashing is sad and senseless. There’s no need to scapegoat each other. Each generation and person on this earth makes their own mistakes. And, there’s plenty of good examples along with the bad no matter what a person’s age. We are too complex individually to be defined along such simple lines, that’s stereotyping. I’m 58, but I enjoy and respect people of all ages. I share many of the same fears and problems that younger people do. I don’t have any financial security, nor do many of my cohorts. I just hope I can work as long as I need to. If Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed so that younger people can benefit from them, then by all means let’s engage the system and try to make that happen! Good luck to you all.

    1. Kisa-Renee Duncan2 years ago

      Very sensible. Thanks, Teri G.

  45. Lisa2 years ago

    Context: I was born in ’67 (early Gen X) to parents born in ’48 (early boomers). Summary: Our parents had little time for us (even when they had time). We were latch-key kids who figured things out for ourselves. We aspired to the materialism of the boomers for awhile, until we realized how shallow that was (or that we really couldn’t attain it). Then we embraced living within our means. Our early boomer parents spent all of the inheritances that they received from their frugal parents; then they spent all of ours — and kept right on spending. Many of our boomer parents have as much or more debt than we do. We worked hard to get ahead, despite recessions and setbacks, yet we didn’t ‘boomerang’ back home. We just put our heads down and got things done; then, we realized that we were supposed to spend more of that productive time on self-promotion, and found ourselves being overlooked in the workplace as the younger self-proclaimed dynamos came along.

    1. Shannon Hollenbeck2 years ago

      The first part of what you said rings so true. I spent a good part of my adulthood working towards the ideal that was a home like my parents. I now realize I’ll never have that but I’m not up to my eyeballs in debt so That’s ok. You can’t take it with you when you go anyway and your kids will be more likely to sell it than live in it.

    2. Emily2 years ago

      Yup. Took me a while to read enough comments to find the one that really spoke to me, but this was the one.

    3. Sarah Mellen2 years ago

      A lot of clarity in this comment!

  46. Jennifer M2 years ago

    As a GenXer, I’ve often said that listening to a Baby Boomer talk about his/her generation is like sitting next to a prom queen who crowned *herself.* But saying this out loud usually spurs the Baby Boomers to accuse you of some type of jealousy — instead of understanding that you’re actually pitying them, and cringing at their conceitedness.

    It would be refreshing to see Baby Boomers act like GenXer’s, Millennials and members of the Greatest Generation … that is to say, people. Humans with some modesty. Individuals who don’t make this strange presumption that they’re something Truly Above and Beyond Everyone Else.

    Yes, I hear you screaming about the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, etc. And we GenXer’s invented rap and HipHop, launched the age of Internet businesses, and now are WRITING the most intelligent television scripts ever seen in the history of the medium (think Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Modern Family, etc.)

    But you don’t hear us strutting around and singing “Talkin’ ’bout my generation!”

    Yes, Baby Boomers, you did great things. So does EVERY generation. (Think: Your parents facing down Nazis, winning, then coming home and quietly raising families.)

    Please try to be gracious and respectful of everyone, OK? It’s a sign of great class when you lift up the others around you rather than gushing about yourself. (That goes for your columns & essays in the mass media, too.)

  47. lynn2 years ago

    i missed where any of the gen xers were concerned that the millenials dont consider themselves patriotic (so when we have a war…will they will bail?), nor concerned that millenials want bigger government (lean towards democratic), …when over 50% of the country wants to be “hand fed”, the other 49% wont want to pay for it….nor work for someone else to get it. the government cant give what it hasnt taken away from someone else…
    further, the boomers themselves didnt cause a social security crisis, the government did by saying we will take your money invest it (turns out unwisely) and give it back to you for less when you retire…the boomers didn’t chose to be born all together all at once….and then burden the country 60+ yrs later. the government should remember the are politicians, not bankers and investment companies. they obviously aren’t able to stick to a budget, nor invest wisely. but there, i digress…

    1. screwedgenxer2 years ago

      Since when do bankers and investment companies stick to a budget? They are the cause of the subprime mortgage crises and they were bailed out by the taxpayers.

      It is true that millenials can’t communicate and are too much into their technology. They also don’t have much of a work ethic. But then again with $7-9 dollar per hour wages, no defined benefit pensions or decent healthcare and being destroyed by massive school loans. can you blame them? If I were in my 20’s again I would not waste my time trying to achieve what the baby boomers have. It didn’t happen. I would enjoy life and advocate social change.

      As far as millenials being too liberal. I agree. But at the rate that us gen xer’s are going economically. We vitally NEED an expansion of gov’t services like social security and medicare when we need it in about a decade and a half from now!

      I think the millenials will save us by voting and with he help of an aging baby boomer ex hippie Bernie Sanders in this next election and they together will expand these vital programs and institute livable wage laws and universal healthcare for all. trickle down economics hasn’t worked for us and Reagan was wrong.

      Bernie Sanders 2016!

    2. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

      SS crisis was MORE babies being born to where when they retire not enough pay roll tax would be collected to support it.

      Gen X being a smaller generation would have to have their payroll tax increased to cover MORE retirees.

      SO the Greenspan Commission recommended while the Boomers were still working to increase payroll tax.

      It is not the govt making investments etc.

      // But then again with $7-9 dollar per hour wages, no defined benefit pensions or decent healthcare and being destroyed by massive school loans. can you blame them?//

      This is NOT unique to them. MOST of Gen X has experienced this and many of us are STILL paying off student loans. I turned 18 in 1985. Min Wage was UNDER 4 bucks. There were not all these high paying jobs around and in the latter 80s was merger mania to where a lot of companies were buying other companies and laying people off. My Gen has been hit more with recession after recession.

      I am skeptical of govt but not blinded that govt is the real problem. It is Wall Street and the greed the Baby Boomers keep.

  48. Stacey Nicholas2 years ago

    GenXer might also be less sure about their retirement funds because they have been taking care of their parents and their children.

  49. Sharon2 years ago

    I would add my voice to the many that GenX is really 61-80. it does span 20 years and it is the generation left behind. Always feeling late to the party… When GenX got around to buying a house the pricing were rising so fast, that you had to jump in and eat Ramen for a few years until your income matched your house price, otherwise you would be priced out of the market by Boomers. That salary didn’t come up so fast either… your Boomer boss was always saying how he/she could only spare 1-2% raises when their bonuses where eating up all that cash. Preparing for retirement? Want to perhaps purchase a second home? Don’t bother, you have been priced out of the market by the Boomers who snatched up all the property already. Now you look at the millennials coming up and you realize that even as the boomers start to die off, you still cannot get a break because you will be overrun by hordes of millennials. Don’t get me wrong I actually like the milennials much better that boomers. Boomers thought they were being advanced and better than their parents, when they were actually a total ME generation who could really give a crap about anybody else.

    1. merchild2 years ago

      What you describe sounds like what my Mom went through, except she was an early gen x born 1957 (‘Baby Bust’), which they now include as the Boomers II, and she should really be part Gen X too instead. She has little in common with early Baby Boomers 1. I do not see why they changed the dates to later, to make Baby Boomers a larger generation than GEN X. Maybe it was for marketing, and/or so they could keep a younger insurance pool in that Baby Boomer generation to pay for the older ones as if it was for them selves too, but really not. Unlike the real Baby Boomers before 1957 my Mom also had her age which she could get social security changed to when she was even older, just like what was done to Gen X. Does anyone know why they kept changing the cut-off date of when the Baby Boomer generation ended to a later and later date?

      1. Justin Moore2 years ago

        they were trying to shore up social security and deal with the problems seen in the future. so they increased the retirement age by 2 years…

      2. Richard Avery1 year ago

        I think there should be a generational meshing between early boomers and the late Gen Xers as far as classification. Essentially folks born around circa 1960 to early 70s could make up their own generation. I was born in 1970. I feel like I have more in common with someone born in ’63 or ’68 more so than anyone born after say mid -70’s.

        Late boomers and early Gen Xers start coming together at one point in history – the mid to late 80’s. One group were young adults in their 20’s trying to match the early boomers materialism and the others adolescents in HS and early College contemplating about being the next batch of yuppies in training. Similar likes in music, fashion, social values, politics exist between the so called Gen Joneses and early Gen Xers.

        1. Dormant Person1 year ago

          As a person born in 1976 and mostly lumped into Gen X, I feel the same way – I have little in common with people born in the 60s and early 70s, but plenty with those born 10 years after me.
          Don’t get me wrong – I am 40 years old, definitely middle aged and under no illusions that I am not 20 anymore.
          But there is something about Generation X that is distinctly NOT me or those born around the same time (late 70s,early 80s)
          I think the key factor is the 80s themselves.
          I don’t remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was too busy playing Nintendo. By the end of the Cold War, it was already a non-issue for every kid my age and younger.
          The Challenger? I know about it mostly due to an interest I took in space travel as an adult. I can’t tell you where I was when it exploded. No idea. Was probably too busy listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks.

          I have childish memories of the 80s. I didn’t start highschool until the 90s. I don’t know what kind of bands you guys had. Madonna and Michael Jackson? That is all that comes to mind. I was a Backstreet Boys fan, loved NSync and the Spice Girls. Linkin Park, Weezer. I guess unless we had older siblings or parents influencing us, we probably remember Transformers and My Little Pony more than John Hughes or hair metal. I didn’t watch my first John Hughes movie until the film was already 10 years old. And I never had a mullet, or whatever you call those fluffy, feathery looking hairstyles in any shape or form.

          In the 90s, I got internet as a teenager and can’t imagine actual adult life without it. Yep, I associate “no internet” with playing He-Man or Oregon Trail. I never worked, went to college or existed apart from my parents without internet. I post selfies and self-promoted excessively on social media in my 20s, thinking I would be the next big thing.

          On TV, the characters in Friends seemed old to me. I couldn’t identify. Reality Bites bored me. As a highschooler I couldn’t identify. When I watched Gilmore Girls, I identified with Rory and co., not Lorelai and Sookie. Not surprising, since most of the actors playing the kids were also roughly my age.
          I was under 24 at the dawn of the new millennium, distinctly remember Y2K and all the disaster movies that came out. Titanic. That was the movie that you either loved or hated.
          9/11 had the most impact on me as a world event.
          I was never a latchkey kid. We had family dinners. I was coddled by my mother and grew up thinking I could do and change anything. I felt guilty for slacking, not “cool”.

          Yeah, I remember grunge. As a very young teenager, I loved this music, even though I wasn’t old enough to attend any concerts until Kurt Cobain was almost dead.
          But I don’t see how that can be the glue that holds together a generation, when there are glaring socio-political discrepancies everywhere else.
          I’m not knocking Gen X. I’m just confused. In school they called us Generation Y. Many of us born in the latter half of the 70s, early 80s share my sentiments.
          I love you guys, but I am not one of you.
          I am just not 80’s enough for you.

          1. Steve Geoghan1 year ago

            I think you’re exaggerating a bit and identifying with some things that aren’t “your generation” and were really meant for younger people. For example, NSYNC. They didn’t come out until 1998. You were finishing college. Typically the music of one’s generation is what was popular when you were in grade school or HS, not post-college. Also, I’m younger than you, and I understood what was going on in 1989. Maybe not in detail or like I do now, but since it was on TV every freakin’ night, my parents gave me the breakdown. Not sure why you’re pretending you were completely oblivious. I also think you were old enough to go to a Nirvana concert. I went to many concerts in NYC when I was still a teen, including Marilyn Manson. No prerequisite to have been 18 even at many of the clubs (Roseland and Irving Plaza included).

            Sorry to pick on your comment, but I think you are core GenX. Just because you don’t identify with those older than you doesn’t make you non-GenX. It makes whatever you experienced GenX. Usually I roll my eyes at comments by people born well into the 80s pretending their so GenX, not used to seeing the opposite type of comment! IME in life and the work world, 1982 is the last year I could consider GenX. 1983 it starts to get iffy since a larger percentage of the people are just not typically GenX. Moreso with 1984. The people born in 1985 seem to be born in a completely different time. Different attitudes, etc. And don’t remember the 80s at all, which makes a big difference because the 80s were so different from subsequent decades…….

  50. Michael R.3 years ago

    As someone who was late boomer or Gen Jones(really hate that term), the bulk of the boomers were always beyond us and a lot of Gen X much closer to us. I went through a lot of the good stuff and the bad stuff ( those little recessions were quite real) that you did. Over time I come to have a lot of the same values as you. I’ve known you as people, people I work with, are friends with, and in the generational squeeze in the trenches with.

    1. merfolk2 years ago

      Michael, your post is excellent and very well said. From what I know from my parents, they feel just as you do, as being more close to Gen X. My mother who explains things to me more, has said nearly exactly what you describe in regards to your position.
      I think the authors did a good job with their title, ‘Generation X: America’s neglected ‘middle child’’, and it is those Boomers II (Baby Bust Gen or Gen Jones’ or whatever they want to label you or them), that are the most neglected middle children of Gen X because, they are the Lost Children of Gen X that were wrongfully lumped in as an afterthought to the tail end of the boomers, when they should have been in Gen X where they belonged. I also want to say, that Boomers II and/or Gen X may have been the independent Latch Key Kids, but teens did bond together and I know the WE Gen started with them, because my Mom has always been so loving and kindhearted that it is amazing. Michael, please correct me if I am wrong, but despite the need to be more self-reliant, was not the generation that you and my parents were born within (or on the cusps of) actually the ‘We are the World, We are the Children’ Generation of Caring? I just want to say thanks to you lost Boomers II/Gen X, because we ‘Millennials’, (Y’s, Z’s or whatever we will be called next) do appreciate you too.

  51. John Rambo3 years ago

    Enter the work force early 1980s, minimum was. $3.35 X 40 hrs X 4weeks – $536.00 . Apartment $575.00 a month.Baby Boomers took full advantage of this cheap labor.

    1. Justin Moore2 years ago

      exactly, the minimum wage hadn’t been increased since 1971, and when it was increased started at 3.35 an hour…the companies benefited greatly by the cheap labor.

    2. linusdacat1 year ago

      Actually I think it was the tail end of the “Silent Generation” that was taking full advantage of cheap labor and affecting things in the early 80’s in the way of which you refer. They were still very much in control of things, whereas even the earliest of boomers would have just been in their 30s, maybe just hitting their career strides as their 20’s were spent at hippie festivals.

  52. byron3 years ago

    I must be x because I find the ‘generational’ obsession that’s emerged over the last 20 years to be very generational. it’s like watching a tennis match between parents and their kids.

  53. Andy Umbo3 years ago

    As a middle years baby-boomer, I’d rather work with Millennials than Gen-Xer’s any day! Being in a situation where I managed large groups of people of various ages, when the Gen-Xer’s hit the market, it was a disaster! We used to have senior management meetings about the problems. The only generation who came to work from college with relatively little knowledge and expecting senior management level salaries and didn’t want to learn the actual job, on the job or “work their way up”. Twenty years later, three company changes, and two states away, and my middle-aged Gen-Xer’s are still my biggest problem (especially from a behavior standpoint), while the Millennials are ready to go, and just want to hold onto the job any way possible to start paying down those ridiculous college loans! Millennials have more respect for aging workers too…

    1. John3 years ago

      As a Gen X’er, it is hard to work with self-absorbed Baby Boomers (remember the “Me” generation) and their equally insufferable Millennial offspring. Baby Boomers, such as Andy, have had the luxury of stable employment with steady wage and career advancement. They espoused these workplace behaviors (learn the job, work your way up, company over self) to Gen X’ers while they bought Harleys and globe hopped. 10 years into a Gen X’ers first job when career advancement seemed possible, Baby Boomers started selling their companies or outsourcing or “finding efficiencies” forcing many Gen X’ers into second (or third) careers. By the time we paid our dues again, the Baby Boomers started offering available management positions to their children or friends children (Millennials). It is hard to be managed by generations that are either too old to have their careers impacted by economic upheaval (Recessions of 1989, 1991, 2000, 2007) and too young to have “earned” their way into management.

      1. Matt3 years ago

        Damn straight John, they will never get it. They have not even put it two and two together with something as simple as- Most of the ignorant Millennial generation and us (the Second Lost generation) came from them, we are the unwanted older children. These guys even forgot riding around with bumper strikers saying “I’m spending my kids inheritance” and it was the thing in the 90’s to put that on the third car or a boat or RV. That was a lot of college money they were spending on golf, RC planes, Vacation, Eating out (also the worst customer at restaurants), but they did give a lot to single mother’s of Generation X for the low cost of sex, they were having sex with our girlfriends and than having the actual brass to lecture about family values. Like I said they will never ever get it and even if they watch the mental Gymnastics as they address nothing and go straight to insults, The same damn strategy they actually employed in the 80’s when we were in grade school. They seriously manipulated and broke the will of children! And laughed about it later with each other.

      2. Jeff2 years ago

        I totally agree with your observation, I am happy you stated these facts in a sensible manner.

      3. Storm2 years ago

        John- yesyesyes!! Boomers expect us to stop what we are doing to help them with computers (the mils- just cam’t explain how things work- because they dont know what it was like before). and then they ask why the mils got more done- um- because I have been showing you how to attach a document to an email all day you non-retiring idiot- and the mil has been working so they did more today than me. sigh. Also we have had to switch jobs over and over because while working hard and having company loyalty and going to college worked for the boomers- helped them advance- it did literally nothing for exers. no wonder we are bitter and don’t want to work for these people we have been working our asses off for years without reward. Boomers- retire!!

        1. Justin Moore2 years ago

          it’s beyond me why the boomers have such trouble with technology, i tried to teach my mother computers for nearly a decade and she wouldn’t get it straight i bough her her first computer which was an apple and then when she wanted a new one moved her on to compaq and windows. but it’s really strange to me that the boomers had 40-50 years out of high school to learn computers and it is such a task for them to use a computer.

      4. Henry2 years ago

        Extremely well said, John.

        Gen Xers and Millennials will be cleaning up the Boomers’ mess for years to come.

      5. Lauren2 years ago

        Great post – spot on!

    2. Pinoche3 years ago

      You baby boomers are modern America’s worst generation. Baby boomers created a lot of the social problems that we have today ( drug abuse, sexual immorality, rebellion, etc). Btw, a lot of baby boomers sired the generation that you are complaining about. Millenials are the ” knock out game” generation. Millenials indulge in cyber bullying. Now marinate on that.

    3. Mack Hess2 years ago

      As a person who is on the edge of the gen x I will say that a lot of our disdain for boomers compared to millennials is based on knowledge. My demographic didn’t vote in politicians who destroyed a system we are doomed to pay for but never will benefit from. My generation didn’t destroy the country economically just in time for what was supposed to be our prime earning years.

      I really could go on and on but I’m sure you know where I’m going on this. Boomers have doomed most gen x to service for your gain and yours alone.

    4. Tim2 years ago

      I hate to say it, but those are almost the exact words used by my generation to describe Millennials. An unfortunate reality of being 40 something, is that 20 somethings temporarily become incredibly annoying.

      Your comment is otherwise vile.

      In any case, at least we knew how to use a computer – if we hadn’t the ’90s would have been a complete disaster.

    5. Tim2 years ago

      “Millennials have more respect for aging workers too”


      OMG You have NO idea what you’re talking about… Maybe ask someone at Facebook about their “gray hair quota” sometime. Worse, try getting a job at a company run by a “forward thinking” Boomer, you’ll be laughed right out of the office by your own cohort, for your lack of teh tech skills.

      You people created a monster that the rest of the world is living with. On an individual level, I get along great with Millennials, because they’re culturally very similar to me, but with a slightly less cynical/angry personality, but as a generation, watch out. Because of Boomers inability to use technology, and your willingness to elevate all things Millennial, you’ve created a generation that believes they’re the only ones who “get” technology. And sadly, despite Generation X’s equal (better imho) grasp of the same tech, because we’re a quiet and self-dismissive group, we will never stand up and call them on it. We have a strong tendency not to trumpet our own capabilities, while you trumpet the abilities of your children.

    6. minnow2 years ago

      Yeah the Bush years and the wars were not very fun for the gen xers. My mom always wondered why we were so down, she was like we didn’t have Vietnam or polio. No we dealt with HIV and Iraq and Afghanistan and we fundamentally changed the game so they won’t get the better of us ever again. I had just graduated from college when 9/11 happened. If I could turn back time I would have majored in corrupt banking instead of environmental science. There I was thinking I could make a positive impact only to realize I was already outdated and I’ve been on enough interviews for dead end jobs to know. Those millenials were able to learn from our suffering, good for them. Us gen x ers are a strong bunch though, we just have to play the long game.

    7. Tamara2 years ago

      That is an interesting perspective. I remember going to college, graduating, and entering the workforce at a time when the baby boomers were in their mid-thirties and forties. At one point I had five part-time jobs because I couldn’t get a full-time job because the job market was full of non-retiring baby boomers. When I finally got a full-time job, one that would have normally gotten loan forgiveness, but I just missed the time allowed to apply for it. By the time the next round of loan forgiveness came around, I did not qualify because I needed to have applied within the first five years of full-time employment when the program didn’t exist. There were breaks for those born nine years ahead of me and for those who born four years after me; I get to spend the rest of my life paying one a student loan that is designed to never go away. I have worked hard for everything I have, but I sometimes wish I had been born just four years later because opportunities existed there that were never offered for my generation.

    8. Ima Buhmer2 years ago

      Finally, the truth about this disaster of a cohort.

    9. Jason2 years ago

      College was expensive for me as well. 70K for my MS in 1995. I had to pay my student loan back. In fact, it was paid off in January 2015 (this year)

      Pin-heads like you have been rusting above me all of my life……

      You all make it sound as if we were handed a perfect world by your generation, and we in Gen X somehow dropped the ball….

      We were never handed a ball. You tossed it over our heads and passed it to the next generation. Since I was in my early twenties, all I have been hearing is how smart, intelligent, creative, hot, sensible the generation behind me is….

      Many say they are “Exceptional”

      I say ‘Entitled’

      and 99% of them know this as well.

      1. Justin Moore2 years ago

        exactly true…this is why i never liked sports it seemed pointless to me, constantly trying to get a ball that is being kept from you…figuratively referring to generation x keeping the keys to the kingdom for themselves and the generation after hours…it seems like they hate generation x and blame us for their loss of freedom…from being self-indulged hippie pot smoking generation that they were.

    10. Karen2 years ago

      Andy – I disagree with you on many of your points. I am an Xer who knew that I needed to start at the bottom even with a college degree. In contrast, the Millennials coming in to the workforce with the same level of education expect to start out in higher-level positions at much higher starting salaries – the attitude is that they are “entitled” to it or they “deserve” it because they are the best you know (their mama told them so). Don’t get me wrong, I have several Millennials on my team and they are wonderful, but they are those that are at the tail end of Gen X and start of Millennial and they were raised by Gen Xers who, in my opinion, are much more self-reliant, have higher expectations and don’t coddle our children or give them participation stars. Your comment about having respect for the older generations depends on what you are speaking about – If you are talking about the workplace specifically, people need to earn respect in their position, they aren’t entitled to it (Gen Xers know this) and some of what I see about this alleged “respect” is really butt-kissing and playing the political game with Boomers to get ahead, whereas Gen Xers would rather make their mark on merit, rather than being the best brown-noser.

      I agree with some of the other comments that Gen X is a generation committed to lifelong learning and it seems that the older generation didn’t value education as much, but valued years on the job more, while the new generation values education, but they see their educational achievements as superior to everyone else’s and place little to no value on actual real in-the-trenches work experience – they think formal education entitles them to more status, more pay, etc.

    11. Shannon Hollenbeck2 years ago

      Funny most of the genXers I know are really hard workers with an excellent work ethic but many are mid Xers like me. Though my older sister was an early Xer and she’s always been a really hard worker. I think it had more to do with age than generation though (work ethic). Young adults just aren’t that into work they’re still growing up. The grow up age seems to get later with each generation though. For the post millennials it will be 40…lol

    12. Justin Pickering2 years ago

      Right…. you love the millenials because youll hire anyone to follow along with no disagreement to your despotic micromanaging leadership style. How transparent. And did you really use the term “behavior issues” to characterize the actions of a 40 aomething person? You’re just a sad individual.

    13. Justin Moore2 years ago

      they have more respect for the boomer’s because they were given everything by them…including their housing after college because they can’t find a job that pays well enough…gen x has been dumped on for years, when our generation learned what they taught us in school, past the tests, and then you get into the workplace and nothing you learned is useful and they want you to work 60 hours per week for 20k per year.

    14. Justin Moore2 years ago

      we learned about brand management, financial accounting, and other business related topics, and then find jobs available that didn’t require you know any of that information. the same problem with advanced degrees from college, they teach you to understand information at a level that none of the jobs are supporting and they expect you to start out at the bottom like someone with no education or life experience whatsoever.

  54. Tara3 years ago

    I would be one of those who genuinely does not care what others think of me or what I do. My Boomer mother is the person who taught me to choose what I love and stick with it. She taught me to like myself and that I am only one tiny speck in the universe. She taught me I owe my fellow specks kindness if I want to expect kindness in return. For all the generational bickering done online when articles like this are written, it doesn’t change we are all simply trying to live our lives.

    1. S3 years ago

      Wonderful comment. I love the word “specks” to describe human existence.

  55. dan e.3 years ago

    The real reason X generation ers get ignored so much is because yall look alike. Clothes , hair styles, womens make up , even shoes in most cases. Even the thought process and general opinions. Must be the music you guys grew up listening to.

    1. Mo3 years ago

      Huh?? From what I’ve seen, those who were born after gen x don’t show any more individuality in style than gen xers – probably less, in fact. Hair, clothes, habits – I’ve seen very little variety among you. And you seem more likely to make negative comments when you don’t like someone else’s style. And as far as music goes… it seems like every other song that’s come out in recent years is “So-and-so with So-and-so featuring So-and-so”. Ho-hum.

    2. Fred2 years ago

      Yeeaah, this is about the most ridiculous comment ever. One of the most beloved cultural memes of the ’80s was the sub-culture. People were obsessed with being individuals, to the point of it almost being damning – because if it wasn’t “you’re idea” and you lacked proficiency or depth, you risked being labelled a poser or trendy. It was one of the big changes that took place in starting in the mid-1980s when we, as adults, reexamined ourselves – which resulted in a cultural explosion. Today, almost every aspect of modern culture is a direct descendant of culture that arose in the mid ’80s and ’90s.

    3. squire haggard2 years ago

      You’re kidding, right? Which generation-member am I describing?: Hoodie, tee shirt with ironic motif, jeans, flip-flops — the Millennial “Mao suit”; Mid-length straight hair with offset part (female), shaggy swirly gel-ly partless “style” (male. Beard optional). Blindingly white, perfectly aligned teeth.Tattoos on either, to express the distinct individuality, yet which only reinforces the sameness (there’s that irony again). And hunched over a smartphone.

    4. Ben2 years ago

      As was indicated in the article, the span of any generation covers a long span of defining events> And now, more than ever before. Perhaps the time frame should be shorter, but the limit would become increasingly small. So it goes. From the 100 plus comments I’ve read, it would seem to bear out the technological warp in time that occurred during the Gen X time frame. The majority of commentators seem to be on the younger end of the generation.

      Perhaps this is an over-reach, but I believe the older cohort of this generation was one, beat-down crew. I remember Viet Nam, Wartergate, the oil crisis, Miracle on Ice, and the AIDS high school graduation gift my year of 1965 (the older coots) experienced. The details are not significant; every cohort has memorable defining moments. It just doesn’t seem like we saw much on the plus side. To quote the Replacements (1985):

      We are the sons of no one
      Bastards of young
      We are the sons of no one
      Bastards of young
      The daughters and the sons

      Of course, our cohort produced the current President. He bailed us out of a Baby Boomer’s messy, messy diaper.

  56. Parvad Asramni3 years ago

    We really are an ignored generation. We were as children and we are constantly overlooked now in the workplace. I actually respect the huge mass of millenials at my job. They have energy and new ideas – I just don’t understand why they get all the credit for the technology, lifestyle, and culture that Gen X created 20 years ago. I respect the baby boomers’ accomplishments too, but they really need to hand the keys over. No, not to a bunch of college grads in their 20’s – they need to hand the keys to us.

    1. Jeffrey Dunnigan2 years ago

      Good Point I totally agree, Generation X created internet, websites, the boomers took it and destroyed it and the millenials are taking credit for utilizing the tools Gen X created giving Gen X no credit.

    2. Sharon2 years ago

      I agree.. I like the milennials, pushing for what is right. Boomers have driven me nuts int he workplace for years…

    3. Justin Moore2 years ago

      i agree with you completely, it would be the natural order of things for the keys to be handed on to the next generation, the xers, but the boomers have bad-mouthed our generation and want to skip over to their grand children trying to teach their kids what they know…

  57. Jesse3 years ago

    Stuck between two of the most selfish generations.

    1. Lisa Spieth3 years ago

      Yep I totally agree..

    2. Jeff3 years ago


    3. Stacey Nicholas2 years ago

      Absolutely! and really STUCK because Boomers (and some Silent Gens) won’t retire (poor planning on their economic parts) so there is no where to move up and about the time you get a shot, someone hires the “bright new face.” There is a huge reason that Gen Xers are the largest demographic group starting their own businesses.

  58. Marie3 years ago

    Also forgot many Gen Xers grew up with the threat of the Cold War. World War III is a different animal than what we have currently – total world annihilation all at once. Who knows what that in the back of your mind creates when you are young. Perhaps this made us more nihilistic than the other two generations surrounding us. And more cynical. Remember, we’re the ‘slacker’ generation, both our parents went away to work and left us at home (this left us feeling like work wasn’t all that great after all, sucks you away from yourself and those you care about), we’re far less idealistic than Millenials. We don’t like self-absorption or lack of authenticity. We find the self promotion of those younger than us just a bit distasteful (while not being too terribly willing to admit it, it’s causing me discomfort just to write that), because it reminds us of the self-absorption of the “me” generation of those before us. However, I love my parents dearly, it was a different time.

    This survey doesn’t capture that very well – at all. Hello….author of Family Guy, Gen X. We don’t like BS. We particularly don’t like BS. You don’t find that unique from Boomers and Mills? Hmmm. Perhaps that’s why not being the center of all this ridiculous, money-making (it’s all for the ad buys and market share in the end, right? we find that machine distasteful too) generational HOOPLA doesn’t bother us all that terribly much. As I make blanket statements about everyone. I don’t like blanket statements either, including my own. So there you go.

    1. Sue G.3 years ago

      Yes, this is the way I see it, as well. An an Xer, I agree that BS is the -worst- thing. “Show me authenticity, don’t be so full of yourself.” Spot on. Also, I would add that we want not what’s in it for us, but what’s in it for all of us?

    2. Steve3 years ago

      Wow. I just kept reading and agreeing with you. The statement you made about work really resonated with me. I think that explains why I am uncomfortable having a traditional career. I would rather get to spend time with my son and so it has taken me a long time to find a place where I feel comfortable in the working world. I think that our generation is often happier with less. We don’t feel the need to have the biggest house or to be “internet famous.” Like you said, these are blanket statements and so I don’t favor them. But perhaps there is some truth to them.

    3. Melissa3 years ago

      Exactly, people tend to forget boomers still hold the power, and they refuse to hand the key, they don’t trust us very much, do they?! Not that I care if they do… well that’s us, “you don’t like me? I don’t care, I don’t like you very much either!”

    4. Mo3 years ago

      Good observations, Marie and commenters. I feel the same way.

  59. beta=omega3 years ago

    I kind of like the name Generation X. As males were X-Men what’s cooler that that?

  60. James Jhun3 years ago

    “Less in distinct than other generations” is a rather faulty statement. The self-awareness that comes from understanding that no generation is magically “more distinct” but rather that all of this historical “distinctness” tends to be a result of the loudness and size of the group that touts it. Take the difference between the WTO protests of the 90s and their equal counterpart in 2000s, Occupy Wall Street: one was desperately violent and the other uncommitted. The distinctness of generation X is its willingness to disconnect from pathological machinery, hence the low voting participation and increased intensity of protest (a la the Los Angeles Riots). When you wonder why the generation was cut short you are beginning to understand how we became disenfranchised. Boomers, as a financial and political cartel, do not like Xers, but they lionize Millenials for their willingness to participate in the economies which enrich them. This, in my humble opinion, is reflected anecdotally by attitudes of Boomers toward the children of their second marriages… they just like them better. We are a smaller, silenced generation because Boomers decided they’ve had enough of our rebellious ways…

    1. Sue G.3 years ago

      Good analysis. I so agree with the assessment that we disengage from the machinery that tyrannizes us.

    2. Evie3 years ago

      “Boomers, as a financial and political cartel, do not like Xers, but they lionize Millenials for their willingness to participate in the economies which enrich them.”

      I think you may very well be onto something there.

    3. merchild2 years ago


    4. Shu Mookerjee2 years ago

      Excellent post! And I think you hit on the main modern characteristic of the Boomers; they are relentlessly and financially self motivated. Don’t forget, this is the famous “Me” Generation of the 70s. They’ve moved on from “sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll” to “stocks, bonds & corporate greed”. Gen X wouldn’t play into that space, so they moved on to the Millennials.

  61. Bearcubus3 years ago

    Reading between the lines of the end of your article, Paul Taylor, apparently you also think Gen X people have extremely fragile delicate-flower egos in those vulnerable moments when they’re flipping through the interwebs at work…delicate egos, perhaps like everyone else, looking at the bizarre self-marketing fetishes embarrassingly laid bare in Figure 3.2. And I suspect that Comments section here proves you right. We are all sitting, typing wounds.

    I remember when I was 12 in 1980 being blown away by how right-wing my generation was. It’s interesting how in our generation we don’t develop out of that political commitment…Another reason why we are politically and economically irrelevant. We are living in the age of patrimonial capitalism. (The reason why we’re so pessimistic about our old age is not because we’re imagining things, but because employers have been very publicly, en masse mining pensions and threatening social security our whole lives. Don’t dissimulate, Pew. You know very well what happened.) The Boomer politicians and managers helped institute it. The Millennials know it means the demise of democracy and all that that implies for most people’s life chances.

    We conservative Gen Xers only went along with it, like tools. A few live the dying dream in suburban grandiose-foyer Ticky Tackies, but by and large, we’ve all been spending our lives doing what we’re told, working like dogs, imagining ourselves as renegades in our private lives (50 Shades of Yawn), cooperatively directing our misanthropy down the social pyramid, mobilizing for nothing and hoping for little but to inherit whatever our parents deign to leave to us from their anomalous egalitarian era. No one talks about us, because our ambitions have always been small and uninspiring.

    1. GeeGee3 years ago

      Bear …
      The following article on the decline of home ownership in America was interesting re GenX (we’re to blame). However, if you scroll down to the comments … they are even better than the article!
      One commenter notes that the technology revolution was unleashed by GenXer’s etc etc etc.
      I’m sure Bob Gates, Steve Jobs, and all the other GenXer’s that changed the world in the Reagan era of individual promise .. might agree.


    2. Sue G.3 years ago

      This comment deserves to be more than parenthetical: “The reason why we’re so pessimistic about our old age is not because we’re imagining things, but because employers have been very publicly, en masse mining pensions and threatening social security our whole lives.” This is so true. My mother, a Boomer, worked off and on throughout her life, most of the time part-time, and she is set up with a pension that is a living income. I have worked full time since I was in college, started my retirement account at the maximum level on Day One, and have very, very little to show for it. There will be no pension for me. I am not sure I will ever get to retire at all. I am not whining, I am just stating a fact.

  62. Nate3 years ago

    One other point. I’m an Xer and a Soldier in the US Army. For all that we heard about being young and self absorbed in the 90s, this generation fought the longest wars in US history with little of the civic support our grandparents had in WWII. Soldiers of my generation just quietly rucked up and kept going back again.

    1. GeeGee3 years ago

      Thank you !!

    2. martianpackets3 years ago

      Well as a fellow gen-xer who graduated college with a comp sci degree in 1994 and went on to help revolutionize the world technically I am used to watching over privileged soft generation y kids get all the credit while baby boomers continue to plunder the economy and the environment. For this. .. being disabled as I am at age 47, a radical hemipelvectomy cancer survivor, I have almost nothing to show. I am a father of a 12 year old who values hard work and has self respect though. I am very proud of her.

      I digress though. Nate you have my gratitude and my full respect. Hang in there.

      1. Justin Moore2 years ago

        the only thing millenials have is they are more aggressive then other generations…they are very forceful in what they think is right, problem is they don’t know what’s right as they have very little knowledge. They have learned more (at least to pass a test) and know less than other generations. and they listen to the silent generation and the boomers who tell them how it used to be…and teach them about oil in the mid-twentieth century as if that is something that is useful in the workplace.

    3. Kagi3 years ago

      Much respect to Nate.

  63. Stephanie3 years ago

    As a Gen Xer, I feel like my focus at work has always been on doing the job I had at the time very well and my assumption was that my career would naturally progress from there. And now, I am frustrated by the fact that at young age, I am already getting written off.

    Opportunities for leadership are being imagined for others who are just better self-promoters. I find our generation to embody a nice balance of traits: hard working, not guided by strict hierarchy, seeing technology as A tool not THE only tool, valuing substance over style.

    I think Millennials use the word “leader” to describe themselves WAY too often and are always focused on “positioning” themselves…career advancement stuff rather than a job well done. Yes, they can multitask, but so can we! We are managing work, families, aging parents, and more. And in our careers, we are doing the work of leaders while not demanding said title.

    1. Sue G.3 years ago

      I would much rather have an Xer above me at work than a Boomer or a Millennial for the reasons you point out.

      1. Sharon2 years ago

        I am with you, working for boomers is for the dogs…

    2. Steve3 years ago

      Absolutely spot on. I just graduated from college at the age of 37 and I can say that those who I was in college with were very, very self promoting. They focus on advancing their career before it even starts. Yet most of them lack the basic social skills to function in the work force. Half of my graduating classmates don’t even know how to communicate on e-mail at this point, much less how to have a one-on-one conversation with a fellow professional.

      1. squire haggard2 years ago

        Too true. I have 2 nephews, 18 and 25. Smart and hardworking, but no sense of altruism, and would not do anything for anyone else if they couldn’t list it on a resume. Raised by boomer parents. (GenX myself).

    3. Melissa3 years ago

      We live in a world were you absolutely need to climb the corporate ladder or disappear and to do that you must play the self promotion game millennials play so well, and we HATE self promotion… we refuse to kiss asses, we want our work to make the statement, but it’s just not enough!

  64. GrammaKaarin3 years ago

    Actually, this is a pattern that fits right in with “Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069” by William Strauss and Neil Howe. Dynamic generation-quiet (in the trenches) generation-dynamic generation-quiet (in the trenches) generation, etc. They reviewed the literature and identified 4 generational clusters that have (and continue) to repeat in order (with the exception of the period around the Civil War): Idealists/Reactives/Civics/Adaptives/repeat. Examples: “Greatest Generation”=Civic; Silents=Adaptives; Boomers = Idealists; GenX = Reactives; Milleninals = Civic; etc.

    1. Sue G.3 years ago

      I am an Xer and am very civic-minded. I volunteer my time in the community, give to charity, campaign for candidates I believe in, and regularly participate in dialogue about civic issues (such as I am doing at this moment). I am very opinionated about the state of things. I don’t know if I am in the minority or not.

  65. Mike3 years ago

    Great article. I agree with many of the post below. Our generation was pushed around by the narcisistic baby boomers whoses ideals and culture smuthered us. We rebelled against their materialism and created our own culture. Grunge was our early voice and Cobain our spokesperson. We are the generation who constantly had to reinvent ourselves every time our baby boomer bosses offshore more of our jobs. We don’t quit but are modest about the progress we have made. Our goal is to leave the nation in better shape than how the baby boomers left it for us which is pretty pitiful.

    1. Méi2 years ago

      There are many distinct things about the X Gen that we should be proud of. Grunge and the new ‘punk’ rock, the first youth to use computers and the Internet at universities before the general public of any age. The first generation to be more aware of accepting racial diversity, AIDS/HIV and other STIs, the lies about the 5 food groups and the junk they sell as food, to do something about pollution, workplace harassment, domestic violence, unequal pay, sexism. The X Gen is good for societies anywhere because we are more responsible, reliable, and sensible. We didn’t waste all our youth on drugs, red meat, and sexual diseases so I think when we’re old there will be less dementia
      Yes, it was the ignorant &narcissistic Baby Boomers working in the Press and other Media who wrote about their own generation even when the X Generation were in their twenties. Then they wrote about their own children (the Y Gen). Those narcissists were jealous that they were no longer young and the only way to puff themselves up was to ignore the next younger generation.

  66. Grace3 years ago

    Yeah, Gen X is so forgettable and unsung. (Note my heavy use of sarcasm…classic Gen X trait) Except pretty much everywhere you look in terms of influencers of the way modern society is shaped…there we are…and we aren’t even done yet. .

    Call us small, but mighty… our generation has been and continues to be more politically and culturally impacting than any generation since the teens/young folks of the late 50’s to mid sixties… our parents. As for boomers– we rejected their music, their values and their culture simply by developing our own. We didn’t mean to make their music obsolete–we just had our own mark to make and it stuck…Gen Y & Z seem to still be very happy with it as they don’t seem to be itching to come up with some of their own. Electing and reelecting President Clinton (our youth vote was the largest in 20 years); fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars; first wave of whiz kid tech millionaires (yeah,folks the “Startup boom” is looking a lot like our Dot Com bubble) The original technology early adopters–from video games to pc’s… Millenials are simply a larger generation who; for the most part are following the many of cultural nods and societal trends we already established.

    Though we aren’t MTV kids anymore, we are as active and impactful as founders and CEO’s of tech companies as we were in the nineties/early millennium; we created two-four new genres of music Alternative and Hip HOP being the most popular. We should not have been called Gen X but Generation Pivot–Pivoting on inclusion,diversity; technological innovation and entrepreneurship volunteerism and most importantly corporate responsibility- we as consumers and young business leaders made that a “thing” for companies.

    We aren’t necessarily attention seekers–but we live lives and make statements that are influential; (think Angelina Jolie, Ben Affleck etc.) Someone lableled us as disengaged and anarchists but we just are critical thinkers and sometimes uncomfortably direct. Gen X isn’t competitive in the traditional sense; because we just never did need anyone else’s validation; only our own.

    1. Dayna3 years ago

      Hell yes. Great comment, thanks for your insight which I believe is actually sort of uplifting and pretty freakin’ accurate of Gen X. I always resigned myself to being part of the slacker/apathy generation but you’re right we paved the way for a lot of the innovation that exists now and definitely were taught to be self-reliant.

  67. James H Lewis II3 years ago

    As an X’er I neither confirm or deny said traits! 🙂 But I would also recommend for my fellow X’ers out there to read Generation X Abort Retry or Fail .. written by Doug Copland.

  68. Amy3 years ago

    “We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.” ― Konstantin Jireček

    Jireček’s quote is the essence of what the nomad archetype (Gen X, Lost Gen, etc.) is all about: survival and getting done what needs to be done with very little, if any, support from the generations that sandwich us. I know this view sounds extremely cynical, but it’s what I’ve experienced my entire life.

    Getting done what needs to get done with little support: latch-key kid providing free child care to younger brother, working since 15 (and having most of my pay during my teen years go to support my single-parent household), earning 2 B.A.s and an M.A. only to have my field collapse due to NCLB, the last point leading to being (un)deremployed my entire adult career, and, finally having a mother whose net worth is almost $500, 000, yet who is so obsessed with money, that I’ll be lucky to get much of an inheritance, if any.

    And you know what? At this point the only things that I want in life (and this echoes an earlier post): a job with a decent salary and a non-Boomer boss, a small house with nice yard to garden in, and a loving partner. I’ll get there by myself just like I always have, which is the essence of survival and realizing that the simple things are the best things in life. In other words, doing exactly what Paul Taylor says makes Gen X, well, Gen X: forgetting the societal fairy tales, coming up with your own (pragmatic) dreams, and not giving a care about what others think.

    1. James Alan Fowler2 years ago

      I am a Generation Xer born since April 26 1971 I did not know much of the music genre I agree with you guys. Too can you define our music to me please sincerely James Alan Fowler/

  69. Hunter Phoenix3 years ago

    Thank you so much for writing this article and including the stats! Heart-breakingly wonderful… it speaks to many of my own feelings and conclusions, but I often questioned them, not wanting to be angry, bitter or sit in the middle of a pity party.
    I have a life coaching practice, and 90% of my clients have been Gen-Xers. I’ve observed the same with them. Hard working, dutiful and resilient, but a forgotten generation often times caring for both their own parents and children and dealing with the economic fallout of a debilitating financial set back.
    This has given me a fresh perspective and more tools to help them and myself. But one question remains: so where do we go from here? The fairy tales have failed, now what?
    Would welcome any comments, responses or feedback.

    1. Sue G.3 years ago

      My advice would be to be activist. Vote. Campaign for candidates who want to support our society, small finance, infrastructure, and the environment. Fight the big companies and the governmental policies that support them.

    2. Jettboy2 years ago

      My advice would be to forget that the fairytale was ever more than what comes from hard work and self sufficient determination. Stop thinking that oversized mommy and daddy government are the answer to anything. Your vote doesn’t count. Your involvement with activism makes you no better than a self-important millennial. Keep doing it your own way for once and encourage others to do the same.

  70. Theodora3 years ago

    Am 48 born in 1965… born in Manhattan Raise in Bronx. I loved my childhood. I loved being apart of Hip Hop which started in the Bronx,The Fever, The Roxy’s, The Fun House, The Garage, Roller Skating in Central Park Oh and of cause Studio 55. I started my first job at the age of 14. Went to Catholic school never wanted to get married. Am going to be 49 in Oct. But, I can’t complain about my life am bless. I no longer live in NY but, because of my upbringing I could deal with anything that come my way. Lol, and I could see BS before it come my way as well. Love being a Gen X. Oh, I was one of those 7 year olds that would give you a run for you money as well LMAO…

  71. KC3 years ago

    So, we are a 65-million stoned bridge. OK. Interesting to see how behaviors and beliefs change: sometimes we listen to our parents and sometimes we think for ourselves. I am the oldest of the Xers, having been born in 1965, literally a “child of the 60s,” but most influenced by the 80s. I’m glad to not be a Millennial – with age comes comfort and realization.

  72. Honeygetoverit3 years ago

    BRILLIANT! Thank you so much for this article, I kept wonder why my generation never showed up anywhere! My generation grew up in the 80s and because of this, our mindset is completely different – we weren’t old enough to partake but old enough to aspire. We grew up around the “me” generation, so we want the best, but also, we want the best for others. We understand that we’re all better off when the weakest link is strong. That’s why we are by and large independent, politically speaking. It is a big mistake to ignore us. 😉

    1. Colishia3 years ago

      Honeygetoverit well said! Thank you

      1. john Lord3 years ago

        Actually, you’d be surprised at just how many millennials actually look up to your generation. Especially the older millennials or the ones born on the xy ” cusp.

  73. D. Gavorski3 years ago

    Gen x & how is 72 the same as 65 not really the a lot had already changed and we are feed up with the Crappy Job outlook and our Gen. Has been in a constant state of War since we Graduated in 1990- no Real jobs nothing we get the Scrapes ax Usual for make Steak out of a Spam – Min. wage should be $ 27.00 not this B.S. nation crap – Part- Time Nation ask for $ 15.00 a hour people are freaking out like they would do what we have do – it’s all Lies & Smoke Screens- politicians are Puppets – lip Service give me a break

    1. ella3 years ago

      The numbers for Gen X have always been in dispute. I can say that lumping in those born in early sixties with boomers is just off. The demographers that use 1960 – 1980 are more on the money for Gen X. Personally I have always considered anyone old enough to remember the civil rights struggles, the awful assassinations and Vietnam to be Boomers. I was a babe in arms during the Johnson administration and Vietnam was over by the time I was old enough to understand any of it. Plus, I was raised by hippies came of age in the 80s and grew up watching MTV. How any of that has a thing to do with growing up a “baby boomer” is beyond me. If you were born during between he Kennedy administration and the Regan administration, you are not a baby boomer. My parents were baby boomers, I’m not one.

      1. Sharon2 years ago

        I totally agree with you… born in 61… I have never identified with boomers… always found them oppressive… I am an X’er and cannot wait for all the boomers to retire

      2. David Lee Sturtz1 year ago

        Um no. Baby Boomers from the get go were 1945 to 1964 with Baby Busters, ie Gen X from 1965 to 1984. This is Harvard. 20 years is the standard.

        People are confusing crossover. When you were a senior in high school did you hang out with 8th graders? No, you did not yet you were close in age. Why is that? Because you had nothing in common with them other than closeness in age. Did you hang out with everyone in your grade? No, you did not. Why not? Because you did not have enough in common with them.

        The controversy rose when two individuals rebranded Gen Y which was 1985-2004 to Millennial when they changed their start date to 1982 so that the first of them would turn 18 in the year 2000 hence the term Millennials.

        What this caused was then pushing around the dates of Gen X and Boomers and this is where we are today.

        I have things in common with senior citizens and 20 year olds but this does not make me one.

  74. D. Gavorski3 years ago

    I agree we were left to defend for ourselves when everyone else was whooping it up ! We all stuck together, watched each other’s backs and sucked in up. we are a respectful generation , we love to have fun .We want peace and love & to get along & not take life to literal . We are the forgotten or taken advantage of Generation .

    1. sandy baxter3 years ago

      do you have any insight into this, or did u live it yourself?

    2. jason3 years ago

      Right on the money my friend. You could have not said it better!

      1. jason3 years ago

        @ D. Gavorski I meant……Im sure he does have creds for this GenX if he so much portrayed it correctly. I absolutely agree with him

  75. sandy baxter3 years ago

    they left out the fact that almost all kids grew up on their own, while single parents had to work. they left out the fact, that we were the generation from the hippies and the drugs. it wasn’t abnormal to see your parent or parent get stoned, drunk and kids having to take care of themselves. they say that our generation x were the spoiled kids. i disagree, my kids were the spoiled ones. i don’t know if anyone else shares this experience or not. maybe it just happened to me and most of my friends. anyone share if you feel this way or not. thanks

    1. Jason3 years ago

      You would have not said things more perfect than that. RIGHT ON!!!

    2. Sue G.3 years ago


    3. Bob3 years ago

      Absolutely correct! We raised ourselves without the help of Boomers. We didn’t live at home till we were 30 like Millennials and we sure as hell didn’t have the promise of life time employment like the Boomers. We’re the ones that invented all the stuff the Millennials revolve their life around. In fact we made sure they would have incredible futures by giving them a whole technology market that needs an insane amount of people to keep going. However, for some reason, they refuse to go to college to get the high paying overly abundant jobs we left them in computer science and programming. I really hope we raise our Gen Z kids to be smarter, although they all seem to be allergic to every food product so who knows if any will make it to adulthood.

    4. Fred2 years ago

      Spot on! I know a total of 4 kids who were thrown out by their parents before the age of 16 (3 boys from the same family and one from another family). I know multiple people whose parents took annual trips to Mexico to pick up cheap weed that they indulged in for the rest of the year – I even had a boss with a huge cocaine habit.

      Anyone remember “though love?” Horrible.

  76. Peter Tharaldson3 years ago

    Actually your writing points to a much larger problem. You have contrived generational bucketing when in fact you are simply looking at slopes of behavioral change. Frankly, you have massive construct validity problems.

    1. sandy baxter3 years ago

      u r so right, so, if you know what is going on with me or think u do, I would much appreciate you talking with me.

  77. Walt Reap3 years ago


  78. Mike3 years ago

    Pew’s tweets linking to this article characterize Gen X as fiscal conservatives and social liberals. To label an entire generation that way based on survey percentages so close to 50% (with what margin of error?) is ludicrous. But to do so to Generation X is entirely appropriate.

    1. Joseph Gill3 years ago

      Those are the exact words I have used to explain my political leanings.

      1. Joseph Gill3 years ago

        Actually the exact phrase I used was fiscally conservative and socially responsible.

  79. Sean3 years ago

    The numbers make sense when you consider that older people tend to be more conservative and younger people tend to be more liberal… boomers more conservative, millennials more liberal and gen x in the middle. As a member of gen x, I can relate from a marketing perspective. Today, the media is inundated with two things: ads for medications that aging boomers use and news stories about millennials.

  80. Melinda Lee3 years ago

    I would love to have some figures on the career success of Gen-X. From my perspective, we are being passed over for the executive level jobs. Baby Boomers are retireing much later than the previous generation and it appears that the top positions are going to go to their kids (millieniels) rather than to the Generation Xer’s who have been plugging along for years hoping to get these top level jobs.

    1. JES33 years ago

      You are correct Melinda…..but the Boomers are ALSO BOOM-eraning back into the workforce as “senior consultants”, commanding large salaries for part-time work and thusly causing promoted Gen-Xers (like ourselves) to recieve lower salary increases……OR, we are kept at our lower level positions, doing most of the work and being indirectly supervised by these boomer consultants.

      1. Tom3 years ago

        Let the Boomers have their senior consulting positions. Let them have their motor homes towing a “knock around” Jeep. Let them think they’re better than us. Same with the Millennials…Let them have their smartphones, their social media, their sense of generational superiority. All I want as an Xer is my wife, daughter, dog, 1200 square feet, steady enough work to support this (no title or respect necessary), peace and quiet, and a lot of space from the entities that try to tell us what to think and how to live.

        1. Billy Boy3 years ago

          Right on brother

        2. Derek Carr3 years ago

          Completely agree Tom

        3. Mike3 years ago

          Amen brother

        4. Sue G.3 years ago


    2. Stacey Nicholas2 years ago

      Absolutely. There are strong numbers to indicate that Gen Xers are starting more businesses than any other generation because they can’t get ahead because Boomers won’t retire.

  81. Eden millecchia3 years ago

    You say Xers are lost in the middle. Try being neither. I’m 50. Definitely NOT a baby boomer. And when all the fuss about GenX began I was confused because I assumed–quite rightly– that they are all younger than me. I understand that a generation is typically a 20 year span. But when you are on the cusp you don’t fit in with either.

    Try polling the 45-55 demographic and ask them where they fit. I’d also be curious to see where the 35-45 group identifies. Are they as lost as the 50 year olds are?

    What am I?

    1. ILuvSnoopy3 years ago

      Eden millecchia, I am also 50. There is a name for those of who were born in the last five years or so of the Baby Boom generation. We are called Generation Jones. We do not fit either the Baby Boom or GenX stereotypes. Unlike the cohort of which are supposedly a part, we were not involved in Vietnam, involved in protests, or out supporting the “Make Love not War mantra.” Unlike GenX, were more likely to be brought up in a two parent family and did not experience divorce the way GenX children did. We graduated from high school in the late 70s and early 80s, moved into the work force or went to college, started our careers and families, and got on with life. I understand your sentiments. If GenX feels ignored, I guess one could say Generation Jones is confused because we have been defined as belonging to a generation of which we are fully aware we do not belong nor identify.

      1. Val3 years ago

        I am 53, have never heard of Generation Jones and fully identify as a Baby Boomer. I never for a moment felt that I was without a generational identity. There was so much more to being a Boomer than protests and The Beatles. It was riding Banana Bikes and watching the Brady Bunch, TV Dinners and Princess Telephones. Being a young teen and borrowing my sister’s head bands and peasant blouses, going on vacations as a kid in a car with no air conditioning while road construction to connect interstate highways tortured the whole family! Albums and ’45 speed singles and not knowing how awful it would seem to the next generation to have actually had to stand up and walk to the television to change the channel or shift the rabbit ears. I am a Boomer – tail end or not!

        1. Val3 years ago

          And Earth Shoes! LOL!

          1. Pat3 years ago

            Thanks for the giggle Val, I do remember Earth Shoes!

    2. sandy baxter3 years ago

      just as lost

    3. ella3 years ago

      You’re a Gen-X

    4. Andy Umbo3 years ago

      …not to mention, all generational break-downs have this problem…I was born in 1954, which allegedly puts me smack in the middle of the baby-boomers, but I never had a high-paying long term job (altho college educated), never got a pension (always stopped a year or two before my getting to a company), and don’t have much savings as I had to live on most of it. The things Gen X, Y, and Millennials try to attribute to the baby-boomers (like ‘stealing all the money’) should really be attributed to the leading edge of the baby-boomers. There was never full employment in most mid-western cities for the mid to tail end of the baby-boomers, hence that’s what started the brain-drain to the coasts. The people that profited from baby-boomers in the market (when it came to long term, pensioned jobs), were the generations that were still working before the baby-boomers matured, right up to maybe the first 5 to 7 years of the baby-boomers; after that, it all unraveled…

      1. merchild2 years ago

        Yes. My Mom said the Baby Boomers ended around 1955, but then they kept changing it to be later and later. The mid to late 1950’s children indeed were late-comers to the ‘Baby Boomer’ Party, (or not really ‘Baby Boomers’ at all), so I believe you. My mother who was born just before 1960 had none of the advantages that her siblings born in the 1940’s and early 1950’s did. She came of age in a culture that was already reshaped by the counter-culture revolution that she missed. Much of what they call the tail-end of baby-boomers (Boomers II) have more in common with the MTV Generation and/or Gen-X. I think you must be correct.

  82. GJetsonPDX3 years ago

    The generational labels are marketing tools. The media ignored GenX until the earliest of us were in our late 20s — they were too busy pandering to the BBs during the 1980s. By that time, the marketers were too late, and their crude attempt at labeling was rightly met with scorn.

    Ultimately, GenX wallets weren’t big enough for marketers to pursue the matter (grunge and the dotcom boom notwithstanding). So the media-marketing industrial complex moved to Generations Y & Z (now collectively known as Millennials) to mold them instead. Millennials seem to be good kids…I don’t envy them the media glare.

    1. Jason3 years ago

      Well Said!

  83. lmm, Solo GenX Warrior3 years ago

    The Gen-X label, as we know it today, is the primary definition for those born roughly between 1961 and 1983. As these odd creatures grew up in a swirling jumble of punk, pollution and porno, the world was becoming anything but child friendly. These kids were already cynical adults by age 7 and left on their own to figure things out for themselves, often taking longer to get a handle on life, family and career. – lmm

    1. Alison Siewert3 years ago

      I was not a cynical adult by age 7. Were you?

      1. Billy Boy3 years ago

        well yes

    2. Michane T Greene3 years ago

      So true, so true.

    3. Doenene3 years ago

      I Agree with @GenX Warrior,
      Born in 1970, I was working by 14. Cynical, oh yeah – left to my own devices, no curfew, no rules, basically raised myself. Boundaries and some attention might have been helpful, but this trial by fire made me fiercely independent. I don’t need anyone and I am less likely to feel sorry for those who can’t seem to pull their own weight.

    4. john Lord3 years ago

      Does this mean that 1982 is considered part of generation x?

  84. Karly3 years ago

    Try being a member of the “Silent” generation! Talk about being sandwiched between others – in our case: Baby Boomers and the World War II folks. Our generation is small being born mostly in the depression (the real one) and the war. Soldiers came home and had their schooling paid for on the GI Bill. We had to compete with them. We went to war in Korea and couldn’t even get our war called a war – it was a “police action”. The Boomers swamped us with their size and bravado (supposed importance – brought on by salespeople lining up to sell whatever they could to such a huge population) and their “don’t trust anybody over 30.” Even today people in my generation can’t get things done for ourselves. Everyone waits on what the Boomers want. Sigh! We do exist as a generation, but I’m not sure anyone really knows us.

    1. merchild2 years ago

      Wow! Karly, I feel for you. I am glad you spoke up about your experience too. I am learning so much from this. When they said, ‘Do not trust anybody over 30’ — That was ageism you were subjected to at such an early age. That must have been awful for you. Then, to also be a member of a so called ‘Silent Generation’ sandwiched between others! It does seem like certain patterns in history repeating themselves in cycles, doesn’t it? Best regards to you now and long life to you.

  85. Alison Siewert3 years ago

    Strauss and Howe identify GenX as the Thirteenth Generation, those born between 1961 and 1981, which seems to me a far better generational boundary. The ‘1946-1964 = Boomers’ thing is very Boomeresque (love those cleverly tidy, palindromic year demarcations!) but it doesn’t reflect the reality of our experience as Xers. In their data-soaked chart, “The Generational Cycle in America” (Generations, foldout at p. 96) Strauss and Howe list members of this generation as including Brett Easton Ellis, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, Michael Lewis — all of whom are currently 50 or older. Barack Obama is an Xer, too, though he is often claimed by Boomers as one of their own.

    Perhaps like the President, those of us on the front-end Xer range carry certain ‘border traits’. But I know a great number of us whose experience really does match up to descriptions of Xers far better than to Boomers. In fact, I find it annoying to be tossed into a generation I neither identify with nor had the benefit of experiencing. As Dennis Miller said,
    “It’s no wonder Xers are angst-ridden and rudderless. They feel America’s greatness has passed. They got to the cocktail party twenty minutes too late, and all that’s left are those little wieners and a half empty bottle of Zima.”

    That’s a pretty good description of how we’ve experienced the job market, opportunities for advancement, and the general sense of American Dreaminess. Not very dreamy, and not much of a treat for us. Still, we’ve developed our own identity that is far beyond the monikers first assigned us — “Lost” and “Doofus” really don’t describe us now, if they ever did.

    1. transition3 years ago

      This is the truth: Bush II was the epitomy of a Boomer: bravado and arrogance without much to show for it. Obama is definitely a Gen-X. He had to clean up the mess his predecessor left behind and is doing with whatever resources he can muster in a badly decayed nation.

      This is the central truth of Gen-X: we are cleaning up the mess the Boomers left behind.

      And, frankly, the notion that I am jealous of the Boomers is ludicrous. I have accomplished more in my lifetime so far than many people age 60 (as rich as many of them too).

      1. Jettboy2 years ago

        Obama is NOT a generation X no matter when he was born. He is the worst of both worlds, taking all he can from others with entitlements to enlarge debt galore baby boomer and narcissistic look how awesome I am “we are who we were looking for” millennial garbage.

    2. Christopher Rose3 years ago

      I recall reading 13th Gen by Howe back in the early 90’s after hearing about it on talk radio at my third shift job. At the time I was a high school dropout with a GED. Like the description of many Gen-Xers my parents where completely self obsessed boomers. Divorced, leaving a huge pile of family wreckage. I heard somebody talking about milinieals the other day calling them the entitlement generation. I mistakenly thought they where talking about boomers! I quietly went off to college, advanced at a career boomers could not seem to grasp. (IT) Everything turned out ok. I do have retirement inesecurity/paranoia. Because the boomers blew all the social security funds yet still insist on retiring at full SS benefits. Somebody will have to take one for the team so our kids get something… Socially liberal fiscaly conservative. Voted proudly for Ross Perot back in 1992 because of the debt lol. Watched my parents generation get in a position to pay off the national debt, then blow it by rewarding themselves with tax cuts and entitlements. (after they helped ship all the jobs to china) Boomers. the REAL entitlement generation…

  86. Christine Cavalier3 years ago

    We GenXers love to read about ourselves but the rest of you aren’t allowed to read about us! Where’s all the hype about us being “secretive” and “protective of our culture?” This may be the first GenX article I’ve read that doesn’t refer to our super duper secret society.

    I’d have loved for Pew to ask us what we think about Boomers. Seemingly, Boomers conducted the research, so I’m not surprised that question wasn’t asked.

    1. Jason3 years ago

      Well said!

  87. slk3 years ago

    who bought all those houses, they couldn’t afford??? and you say, they’re not being mentioned!!! thank you x!!!

    1. Christopher Rose3 years ago

      Try boomers.

  88. George Purcell3 years ago

    Gen-X is a 20 year generation if you (properly) assign the 1961-1964 cohorts to the group.

    1. Albert Lazaro Vargas3 years ago

      I’m not so sure those born 61-64 can properly identify with Gen X. My bother was born during that period and he absolutely cannot relate to my experiences growing up. He is most definietly a par of the tail-end of the Boomer generation, but even then there is a world of difference between us

  89. jen3 years ago

    This is so boring and says the same thing I’ve been reading about Generation X for a dozen years. I wish Pew would publish some real research about Generation X…

    1. Tim2 years ago

      I wish I could bump this post to the top.

  90. trevor3 years ago

    clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle.

    1. Eden millecchia3 years ago


    2. Palopalito3 years ago

      Thank you, do you know how the Nintendo generation is called?

    3. BC3 years ago


  91. Sinnathamby3 years ago

    The social gap between generX and Millenial is narrowing in the present contacts. While social gap between Boomer and the two other younger group is widening bigger than ever.

    1. Bob3 years ago

      It’s never easy to share thoughts and experiences to a younger generation if they are not willing to use their minds instead of a cell phone. Communicating is always a

    2. JES33 years ago

      I’d have to agree with you on this one, considering I married a Millenial and it’s a great marriage……and several of my prior relationships were with Boomers, whom I’m glad I never married.

  92. Comment3 years ago

    Jon Miller at the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the University of Michigan wrote that “Generation X refers to adults born between 1961 and 1981” and it “includes 84 million people” in the U.S

    1. Comment3 years ago

      Here is the link for the Miller report lsay.org/GenX_Rept_Iss1.pdf

  93. Comment3 years ago

    In a 2012 article for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, George Masnick wrote that the “Census counted 82.1 million” Gen Xers in the U.S. The Harvard Center uses 1965 to 1984 to define Gen X so that Boomers, Xers and Millennials “cover equal 20-year age spans”.[14] Masnick concluded that immigration has filled in any birth year deficits during low fertility years of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    1. Comment3 years ago

      Here is the link for the Masnick / Harvard Housing Center article:


    2. George Purcell3 years ago

      Straus and Howe 1961-81 is still the best measurement. Not sure where the Harvard Center got their range…and being so late to the analysis see absolutely no reason to accept it.

      1. Comment3 years ago

        The author of this article Paul Taylor quotes Neil Howe on the back of his book too!

  94. sara-dc3 years ago

    Growing up in the 80s, I was a ‘latchkey kid’. As tough as it was I think we had it much easier than kids nowadays w/their endless need for instant gratification & social media hype attacking them every second of their lives. Call us what you will, we’re independent, a bit skeptical but hopeful and hoping to make our world a better place. Our generation faced lots of divorced parents, thus, many of my friends and I waited until much later to marry (or are still single!) as we don’t want to have make same mistakes too many times. And who doesn’t LOVE 80s music? Wouldn’t change that for the world : )

    1. Jason3 years ago

      Very well said!

    2. M Cason2 years ago

      my problem is, what is now referred to as “80’s music” was the last thing I was listening to in the 80’s. I was into Minor Threat, Suididal Tendencies, Operation Ivy, Meat Puppets, Minute Men, Butthole Surfers, Replacements and an odd little band from Massachaetts called Pixies.

  95. Yvonne C. Hunnicutt3 years ago

    I’ve been saying this to anyone who listens. Biologically, I am the oldest but surely knows how it feels to be the middle…#genx

  96. Melanie Notkin3 years ago

    Thank you for this. In fact, it’s exactly for this reason that I authored my second book, “OTHERHOOD: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness” (March 2014 – Seal Press/Penguin Canada). OTHERHOOD is the story of the women of Generation X who expected the social, economic and political equality our Baby Boomer mothers were not born with, as well as eventually find the husband and children they did have. But as Pew Research knows well, Generation X is getting married and having children later than generations before. There are assumptions made that the women are all childfree by choice, but the data shows we are no less yearning for motherhood than our mothers were. Some define us as “career women,” choosing work over love, marriage and motherhood. And yet, we must work in order to pay the rent. Even the majority of married mothers work today. And there are no so-called “career men” after all. The list of myths goes on and on… and yet among this generation of the most well-educated and financially independent women America has ever seen, many remain single and childless as we collectively head toward the end of our fertility. I’ve dubbed this misunderstood and often unacknowledged generation of women: Otherhood.

  97. Stealers Wheel3 years ago

    ‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right – here I am, stuck in the middle with you…’
    And I wonder what the hell I should do…

    1. Aaron3 years ago

      being part of early gen Y, Our group is much more open to previous generational popular culture and ideals than the ones of late gen Y and Z. Perhaps that’s due to my parents being late boomers or early Xer’s. At age 29, I feel much more a part of earlier generations identities. The Cell phone and social media in many ways actually drives gen Y apart because we interact with each other in an increasingly low face to face manner. I may be a special case being into retro culture, and not everybody in gen Y is tech savvy or a slave to technology of course. However, Gen Y’s embrace of technology may be its undoing in the social sense. The media perpetuates the in your face tech boom aimed at us as if we all think its grand when in reality a lot of us would rather have a more unplugged life closer to decades past. I feel like the 90’s was a healthy balance of tech and traditional culture and having lived through the decade and having been exited about the future of tech, I think presently, we are bombarded with too much crap. Perhaps it will all level off at some point and we’ll get sick of our plugged in life style but i doubt it.

      1. Butterfly3 years ago

        I am truly in the middle being born 1971, Gen X’er I am! I have been amazed how our generation seems to be put down when in reality Gen X is the reason tech is so advanced; we built on/developed boomer’s computers, video games, tv’s (color), remote controls, microwave’s and other appliances. Most of All the hip hop culture….multicultural culture…I recall when this title came about; to us it was and is (to many I know) a badge of honor to be called X…due to the fact that being raised by boomers we built on their “Protest ideology”, Our protest through music (new genre’s created as well as dance), art (graffiti/ abstract etc.), clothing/hair styles, MTV, attitude (will not conform) all perceived as negative by the boomers and of course the Silent Gen. hence our label. Being brought up in the burb’s all of us were “Latchkey Kids” and it’s funny how that has molded most of us to have children later in life and we are so much more open with our children, we strive to have work/life balance if that means working third shift, part time, or flex schedules in order to be more involved and available to our pre-teens and teenagers. I found we did bare minimum in regards to education (many getting degrees in thirty’s and after) but have stressed importance of higher education with our children by explaining some of our mistakes. I have a 17, 13, and 4 year old and they are always on honor/merit roll, speak there minds, listen to 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s music mainly and dress similarly to how Gen X did (lol). My Mother (Boomer) lives with us and I have said several times “I never expected you to be such a grandmother grandmother” she has and that means to her I am doing everything wrong and I say “you boomers did such a great job at raising X’ers that now you guys want to micro-manage, it’s a bit too late”. With that being said GENERATION X is actually a strong, resourceful, creative, social, diverse, blessed crew

        1. MJ3 years ago

          I was born in 1973 and I agree with you 100%

        2. Jason3 years ago

          Born 73 myself. Your right on with your comments. We look at Boomers as the tail end of the last great generation, our parents. Then had to let go of the tail and raise ourselves because of divorce, alcoholism, experimenting with dip, smokes, beer, pot, then rock on to whatever. We were in a total experimental time between our parents and what we wanted to rebel against and have the RESPECT with them, as I did, but then clearly made it certain that parental conformity was not going to happen..HAHAHAHA….GOD do I love and respect my parents more and more everyday. If only we would have not been on the EXPERIMENTEL QUEST FOR X! But, we are the silent ones for sure!

      2. merchild2 years ago

        Aaron, I was born in 1990’s, but I agree with you too. I was already doing computer-art and playing video games at the turn of the millennium, thanks to what Gen-X made.