April 25, 2016

Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

FT_16_04.25_generations2050Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks. Boomers – whose generation was defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II – are older and their numbers shrinking as the number of deaths among them exceeds the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.

FT_generations-definedGenerations are analytical constructs, and developing a popular and expert consensus on what marks the boundaries between one generation and the next takes time. Pew Research Center has established that the oldest “Millennial” was born in 1981. The Center continues to assess demographic, attitudinal and other evidence on habits and culture that will help to establish when the youngest Millennial was born or even when a new generation begins. To distill the implications of the census numbers for generational heft, this analysis assumes that the youngest Millennial was born in 1997.

Here’s a look at some generational projections:


  • With immigration adding more numbers to its group than any other, the Millennial population is projected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. Thereafter the oldest Millennial will be at least 56 years of age and mortality is projected to outweigh net immigration. By 2050 there will be a projected 79.2 million Millennials.

FT_16_04.25_generationsBirthsGeneration X

  • For a few more years, Gen Xers are projected to remain the “middle child” of generations – caught between two larger generations of the Millennials and the Boomers. They are smaller than Millennials because the generational span of Gen X (16 years) is shorter than the Millennials (17 years). Also, the Gen Xers were born during a period when Americans were having fewer children than later decades. When Gen Xers were born, births averaged around 3.4 million per year, compared with the 3.9 million annual rate during the 1980s and 1990s when Millennials were born.
  • Though the oldest Gen Xer is now 50, the Gen X population will still grow for a few more years. The Gen X population is projected to outnumber the Boomers in 2028 when there will be 64.6 million Gen Xers and 63.7 million Boomers. The Census Bureau projects that the Gen X population will peak at 65.8 million in 2018.

Baby Boomers

  • Baby Boomers have always had an outsized presence compared with other generations. They were the largest generation and peaked at 78.8 million in 1999.
  • There were an estimated 74.9 million Boomers in 2015. By midcentury, the Boomer population will dwindle to 16.6 million.

This post was originally published on Jan. 16, 2015, and updated on April 25, 2016, to indicate that Millennials have officially surpassed Baby Boomers in population.

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, U.S. Census, Millennials

  1. Photo of Richard Fry

    is a senior researcher focusing on economics and education at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    These comments about abortion are sickening. Abortion is the best thing possible because it eliminates babies that were unwanted. We don’t need an ever-expanding population and the last thing we need is millions of underprivileged children. Unending growth is the psychology of the cancer cell. Get a brain, you anti-abortionists. You make me puke.

  2. Anonymous1 year ago

    We need mass depopulation

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    because we have lost over 54 million unborn children to abortion who would have been able to grow up and invest in society, our culture and work force. Or at least 45 million. It is not possible to make up a lost generation or people. For every child that dies for whatever reason, that makes a difference in every society. Each person has something to offer.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      I totally and completely agree. The abortion industry is absolutely horrible not only dos it prey on children, it ends up sacrificing them for the littlest of things based on the perceived so called “perfection” in our society. Mother’s who don’t want children based on eye color, skin, etc.

      We’re giving our young people very little choices and they have extorted to the extremes over it. The young men especially suffer the most from mental issues that are never addressed early-on and it carries into adulthood creating multiple disorders and all sorts of needless deformities and burdens.

      Our “foster home” system is also a mess. We need to start screening individuals not only based upon income amount but also RELIGION as well too. There has been too many silent cases of foster-children being placed in homes where they have been abused shuffled around with a careless Baby-Boomer Society that acts like “Business As Usual” with disregard to human life.

      These are the SAME people who run after the stock market and are or car fanatics. We need to start acting less like animals and more as Upstanding Citizens in society again!!! Our college women and men are being needlessly harassed and sacrificed for no reason OTHER than to please the generation before us for a couple of dollars and bucks.

      It is HORRIBLE in the IT industry. There are so many greedy-men and women now that the entire industry has been taken over by fanatics, mason-influenced and OTHER entities that have NO business being there. For the future of the nation it’s time to start setting things right and stop the racism and the abuse that has been running RAPID and untamed.

      Teach your men to RESPECT women be it in USA OR overseas. Teach your women to LOVE their men instead of exploiting.


  4. Anonymous1 year ago

    Let get it straight the average life span is 77 and 79 today’s technology with genetic engineering coming on quickly baby boomers will go to 100 generation x will go to 125-150. People have to start acting and thinking drastically different than today forget retirement and think about a new career and education at 65 or 80. A college education at 22 is like going to the time of Christ in education . If you graduated in 1975 with a degree in anything it is ancient history. The old model of getting married at 25 or thirty having children and working till 65 and sitting around till death at 75 is dead. Ask yourself how old was the last person you went to their funeral? 90, 98, 103? That will tell you about why the old model is dead .

  5. KSR ksr1 year ago

    If millennials are tied with baby boomers why is social security going broke don’t they pay into social security or are they all just protesters

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Because you forget that social security worked because the Boomers were a much large generation than any generation before them. There was a very large working population much larger than the senior population.

      Just because millenials are tied with boomers doesn’t mean there are enough to support the much larger elderly population who are by the way living longer. Furthermore, most boomers still hold the high ranking well paying positions while millenials are just starting their jobs or still in school. Millenials are staying in school far longer than boomers by the way, not only because knowledge has advanced significantly over the last few decades, but also because there aren’t many companies clamoring to hire people unlike the situation of the boomers.

  6. Anonymous1 year ago

    I think the article doesn’t address the more glaring topic, the post-millennial generation will be the largest generation ever.

    They are already at 69 Million.

  7. Anonymous1 year ago

    Millenials are the only ones that get two names to describe them. First as generation Y. Now, millenials.

  8. Anonymous1 year ago

    Why are more years given to boomers and millenials than Gen X? I also read where Gen X is from 1961 to 1981. There’ve been a lot of “Giants” that came from Gen X not just from boomers..and quite frankly I feel these researchers don’t want to give Gen X the contributing credit we are do b/c …well, they want to keep us X’d out (for the name’s sake) so they add and subtract as they feel. But don’t you ever forget this…we will Always be the X FACTOR.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago


  9. Anonymous1 year ago

    Yeah great Millennials surpass a generation that actually cared about things. Instead of a bunch of lazy spoiled kids that are buried in there phone or tablet. They don’t know or don’t care what is going on in the world. once the baby boomers are gone this country will have very few people that are productive in society.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      who’s fault is that? It’s not as if Millennials are these feral creatures raised in the wild. They were raised by Gen X and Baby Boomers. And millennials are incredibly productive. You wouldn’t have the ability to comment online without us. (And no I’m not talking about the innovation of the computer or the internet.)

      1. Micky Baker1 year ago

        Millenials are actually the least productive of the adult generations, and participate the least, even compared to other previous generations during the same age as the millennials are currently in the labor force. They are also the most dumbed down by the education system and more dependent on technology that make them more intellectually lazy.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Haha actually there is a reason why we are here and we are here to serve a great purpose as times are changing faster and the old way of thinking is slowly being replaced by the new. We are considered spoiled because you think we only care about ourselves. We are considered lazy because we can’t focus on mundane task and shit that doesn’t serve our purpose. but truth of the matter is, we are here for a reason, the foods we eat causes our hyperactive mind to not be used in its greatest ability. Depending how old you are you will see the revolutionary change that is going to happen. We don’t listen to authority often because we are the change of the nation as the government system collapse and the power and greed is shed in light. The change is big and we are the ones who will partake in it. So judge us the way you see yourself but when shit hits the fan you will realize this is all suppose to happen. As people evolve the things around need to change and adapt as well. Higher understanding, higher consciousness here we come.

  10. Anonymous1 year ago

    A Millennial raised by a Silent – I should consider myself lucky to have been raised with such a unique perspective – a perspective almost completely gone thanks to the influence of the Baby Boomers. A perspective only leaders like Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders will still understand.

  11. Anonymous1 year ago

    Great article !! The research that went into this is fascinating . The only thing that saddens me is we are always looked upon as a number not a soul of God Almighhty .. Science & graphs are merely someone’s findings on research . Not looking at the whole picture what the number of souls have gone to God with open hearts . Praise God to give you the scientific fact of numbers hence, leaving many broken hearts behind. Let’s just pray that these numbers you see as children of God as he created earth .. May the earth that he has hold of never falter and the souls that believe in him .

  12. Arlana Smith1 year ago

    Soooo wait! Young people are going to out number people born 50 years before them!!! This was probably the dumbest article ever written! What a TOTAL waste of graphs!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      It really isn’t. We get to shape our future they don’t get too we get to pick the president they don’t get to, we beat them by 1 million.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I wondered about that too but then realized its because the people born before them will be dying

  13. Anonymous1 year 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”. Masnick concluded that immigration filled in any birth year deficits during low fertility years of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    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

  14. Anonymous1 year ago

    Here is how I define generations from 1880 – 1999:
    1880 – 1899: Lost Generation
    1900 – 1919: Greatest Generation
    1920 – 1939: Silent Generation
    1940 – 1959: Baby Boom Generation
    1960 – 1979: Post Boom Generation
    1980 – 1999: Millennial Generation

    This way all the generations have the same length (19 years) and now we can compare each of them fairly in terms of the amount of money they spent, or amount of debt they had, etc

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      I think you mean Generation X not “post boom” generation right?

    2. Tim McLaughlin1 year ago

      This is no good, it’s too neat. The “Greatest Generation” struggled to win WWII, but that’s a lot of people born in the ’20s as well as the aughts and teens. I don’t even know what “Silent Generation” means (maybe a nod to cinema but “talkies” caught on by the late ’20s and silent films were all but dead by the ’30s), plus the “Baby Boom” is universally regarded as those born immediately after WWII up to the mid-’60s, not a neat ’40-’59 couple of decades…

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      I agree

  15. Debra Bain1 year ago

    The Millenials have surpassed the baby boomers because of the influx of immigrations into this country legal and illegal.

    1. Vicki Calvert1 year ago

      I agree.

  16. Anonymous1 year ago

    The Millenials have surpassed the baby boomers because of the influx of immigrations into this country legal and illegal.

  17. Peter Roehlen1 year ago

    “Though the oldest Gen Xer is now 50, the Gen X population will still grow for a few more years. ”

    Er, no it won’t.

    1. Lisa Russ Ratley1 year ago

      I wondered about this also. How could Gen X continue to expand? Well, its probably because of immigration. Most are young but still some Mom’s and Dad’s bringing children.

    2. Jaquelynn Gering1 year ago

      They’re saying the number of people in that age group immigrating to the US outnumbers the number of people in that age group who are emmigrating and dying.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        For the time being. They mentioned 56 i think as the age where immigration stops offsetting the death rate.

  18. Anonymous1 year ago

    Oh my goodness, let’s just settle this by classifying Gen X as 1961-1985 once and for all so everybody can be happy and satisfied now. Those that were born in the early-mid 60’s that feel that they are more inclined to X can have it now, and those born in the years 1980-1985 can finally be happy now too. Even those people born in 80-85 grew up in Gen X culture so they can at least recognize it – so I don’t think its too late for them.

    Only in America such a stupid topic can be turned into political madness among people.

  19. Virginia Thomas1 year ago

    Glad to hear the Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomers!

  20. Anonymous1 year ago

    Steve Ruggles: contrary to your suggestion that identifying generations is just arbitrary, take a look at Harry Dent’s research on generational influences, patterns and, especially, demographics. His is a scholarly study that shows not only is is not arbitrary, it is predicitable based on his development of the demographic characteristics of each group. It fits, it works.

  21. Anonymous1 year ago

    The term generation for the nation differs from that for individuals. One who is 50 might have a grandchild age 5 thus spanning three generations, i.e., Gen X to Post Millennial. Or, one born mid 1930s might have a grandchild born in 2006 whereby spanning generations Silent to Post Millennial, as in my case. So family generations obviously differ from the meaning of “generation” as used in this article. It would be interesting if the author took up a definition of some past generations in the national sense, if the data could be developed.

    For example, what if we speculated about those born before the Greatest generation? The average number of years used by the author varies but I’ll use 17 years for the most part as an example. You can alter this yourself and give each one a new name if you like. I’ll make up my own names but you can change them to suit yourself. Here goes: (I’m into family history.)

    Nation’s Previous Generations
    1910 – 1927 – Greatest Generation 18 Years
    1893 – 1909 – Invention Generation 17 Years
    1876 – 1892 – Industrial Generation 17 Years
    1859 – 1875 – Divided Generation 17 Years
    1841 – 1858 – Migration Generation 17 Years
    1826 – 1840 – Expansion Generation 17 Years

    My several grandchildren are all Post Millennials and two of my earliest born grandparents were born during the Divided Generation, so they are nine national generations apart. I hope someone finds this useful?

    1. Jason Wilkins1 year ago

      Just to provide detail to your point, the generation preceding the greatest generation was the lost generation (the ones who lived through and were said to have lost so much in the great war).

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I did! I’m doing an interview for a project on this and I found this very useful! Thank you!

  22. Anonymous1 year ago

    Hmm, an actuary chart. What’s the news here?

  23. E Orion Spero1 year ago

    Can we get a generation definition and explanation page on “Methods”?

    1. Bruce Drake1 year ago

      See if this helps: people-press.org/2015/09/03/the-…

  24. Anonymous1 year ago

    But unlike the Baby Boomers, Milennials are not the children of our World War II War Heroes. Quite the opposite.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      instead we’re the victims of their arrogant, self-righteous children.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Sounds like you’re a bad parent and hate your own kids. Definitely the self-proclaimed greatest generation.

    2. Jaquelynn Gering1 year ago

      No, we are not. Out of curiosity, do you think the veterans of Vietnam were any less heroes because the war they had to fight was unpopular?
      I think they were just as much heroes as the men who stormed Normandy. They fought a heart-breaking war, winning a battle and watching their friends die to take a certain amount if ground, only then to be told by the government the next day that they had to retreat for some BS reason. It was a brutal war, and they came home suffering PTSD only tonbe greeted by and American public who spat on them and disrespected them.

      All of our veterans who have fought honorably for our country are heroes, whether they fought in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq.

  25. Brent Green1 year ago

    Pew’s pronouncement depends on acceptance of their generational boundaries. Boomers, born from 1946 through 1964, or a nineteen-year span, experienced many of the same major formative experiences, such as Vietnam, the women’s movement, rock ‘n’ roll culture, and Watergate. Those Americans born and reaching young adulthood during these years also experienced homogeneous television media through three dominant television networks, thus fostering collective mentalities around many core values. However, Millennials grew up in times of much more fragmented cable television and less disruptive and tumultuous formative experiences. Thus, it’s difficult to accept that a Millennial born in 1981 has much or anything in common with someone born in 1997 from a cohort perspective. Whereas early Millennials reached young adulthood without the Internet’s transformative impact on their daily lives, those born after 1995 are truly digital natives and have had online experiences since childhood. My position remains that the Millennial generation’s final birth year is 1995 with the next year ushering in the beginning of Generation Z or the iGen.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      In Australia, McCrindle research Center defines Millennials as being 1980-1994 and “Gen Z” (i.e. post-millennials) as being 1995-2009, and most other people follow this definition as well. However, Pew chooses to use a different one for whatever reason.

  26. Joseph Brown1 year ago

    The post Boomer generational monikers stuck as new memes after publication of Doug Coupeland’s “Generation X”, published in 1991.

    Ironically, the scheme described above would have Coupeland among the Baby Boomers. But that is not how we identified back then. There is simply no way Douglas Coupeland (born 1961) was anything but a member of Generation X.

    Generation X was so named because they were the children of Boomers and War Babies, who are decidedly not part of the “Silent Generation” (think Hippies).

    Like Gen Y, War Babies never got a lot of press, but they exist nonetheless, on the cusp of two larger (in time) generations.

  27. Steve Ruggles1 year ago

    The generational definitions are arbitrary and unscientific. There is no demonstated analytic value for these groups. They have uneven time spans. Comparing their relative sizes is meaningless.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Exactly right. I guess there was an event that caused the beginning of generational clock (hundreds of years ago?) that we’ve kind of arbitrarily followed since. The overlap areas are tricky and the length of the generations are somehow linked to events, I guess? The lives of people born in 1946 vs 1964 are going to be very different, yet they would both be in the Boomer generation.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        The baby boom, as originally identified, had a demographic definition — a bulge in fertility after world war 2. The reason it went all the way to 1964 was the birth bulge did not subside back to the previous level until then.

        There’s some additional significance to picking that end point: a human family generation is long enough to breed and bring an offspring to maturity.

        While this is a little arbitrary depending on how young you are when you first have or can have a baby, it’s not less than fifteen nor much more than twenty years. So it fit that cutoff line too.

        Then that demarcation acquired a sociological significance insofar as the subsidence of birth rates guaranteed the numerical dominance of boomers over their successors for a long while after 1964. The boom generation didn’t really secure political dominance until Clinton became president in the 1990s.

        Any cultural significance was largely a contrived media artifact. For instance, not all, nor even most boomers were the “woodstock generation.” A person born in 1959 was only ten years old when that event happened. In 1964, the Beatles just appeared on Sullivan and were already ten years broken up by the time that last baby boomer was in high school.

        So, Prince was a boomer but appealed to the younger Xers. Paul Begala, the Dem operative and CNN commentator, who famously ranted about hating baby boomers is one based on a demographic definition.

  28. Richard Allegra1 year ago

    Not to make everything about politics, but since this research includes the impact of immigrants, it would be interesting to overlay a graph reflecting the so-called immigration policies that some candidates have called for. How would closing immigration via Mexico impact this, etc.

  29. Tequila George2 years ago

    Hello all, this is Tequila George, a self-proclaimed baby boomer, boomer II, if we are splitting it that fine. I stumbled across this article and the comments while researching a different issue, and could not help but get sucked into the vortex created, here. I happen to like what we can do with predictive analytics and all the good that can be achieved with it. But, there is a negative side in all our taxonomies, as well.

    Odd how we try to stuff everything in a nice little basket for filing, but, the world is as the world is, and you can be as young or as old as you feel. What distinguishes generations is not a birth year, but, rather a mindset. Who, what, when where, why and how we are all influenced defines us: not an arbitrary generation line drawn in sand on a beach.

    We all know the 60+ year folks that are responsible, yet love life and have decided to never grown up: child like, not childish. I also know there are children in their teens that have been faced with having to grow up and face life early because their parents never accepted responsibilities. And there are many different subsets of generations and conditions establishing behaviors that extend far outside of an age or birth year.

    Instead of creating these artificial definitions, maybe we can consider generations in the manner we have for the eternity prior to naming and compartmentalizing the generation: Child, parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, and so on. In the mean time, lets all work on presenting a better future for our next generation.

    Yours in generating thoughts…

  30. Lee Lehman2 years ago

    Look at the curve for the Gen-X’ers immediately after 2028. The shape of the curve “should” match the boomers for now, but it is not declining as steeply. So there is some assumption here about greater longevity to the Gen-X’ers. Really? All I’m seeing is a lot of cancer deaths of tragically young people.

    1. Satou Tatsuhiro1 year ago

      This looks to be less an issue of longevity and more an issue of average birth year combined with population differences. The curve of the Boomers is declining more steeply than the Gen X’ers at 2028 for two major reasons:
      1. The average Boomer will be in a more fragile age in 2028, vs. avg X’er
      2. The Boomer I generation (I’ll say 46-55) increased births year on year, whereas the Gen-X I generation (I’ll say 65-73) saw a general decline in births.

      This combination means that there is an increasing number of Boomers entering fragility / retirement age, and a decreasing number of Gen-X’ers entering their version of fragility, which won’t really start until 2040 or so. From 2040 to about 2048 (my hypothetical Gen-X I generation) we had a decline in births. So, although there will be more Gen-Xers at the fragile age in 2041, 2042, etc, that rate of change will be less pronounced than the Boomers drop was.

      The Millennial generation will enter fragility (I’m saying 75 years old) at around 2056. From there, the drop for Millennials will be steeper for the Millennial-I (first half) generation due to the increasing rate of births from 81 to about 1990. After the majority of Mill-I’s leave, we’ll have a less steep decline for the Mill-II’s, due to their decreasing birth totals until the Post-Millennials arrived.

    2. Jaquelynn Gering1 year ago

      You hear about the tragic death of a 40 year old because it’s atragedy, whereas you hear about the death of a 75-80 year-old it’s nature and you just hope they went peacefully and painlessly. The number of young people dying of cancer is nowhere near the number of elderly dying of cancer, not to mention alzheimer’s, heart failure, stroke– for someone 70 years old just the flu can be quite deadly.

  31. Jazz2 years ago

    How does this make sense? Like how does the amount of millennials increase in 1 year despite no more having been born?

    1. Jazz2 years ago

      Oh wait does it mean through immigration?

      1. Brandon2 years ago

        The reason the population of the Millennials is “growing” and Baby Boomers declining is because it is projected that far more Baby Boomers will pass away than Millennials in the coming year and years.

        So, the Millennial population isn’t actually growing, other generations behind it are simply declining.

        1. Richard Fry2 years ago

          No, the number of Millennials rises for a few years. Millennials are young, so the number of young immigrants entering the US exceeds the number of Millennials dying: Millennials grow. Different calculus works for boomers. Boomers are presently old. Not many old immigrants enter the US so for Boomers the number of older immigrants entering is exceeded by the number of Boomers dying off, therefore Boomers decline in number.

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        Yes, it does mean through “immigration”.

  32. deb2 years ago

    The numbers confused me a little. I can see how this could effect Social Security and Medicare. It doesn’t support the recent belief about Social Security will run out of money, in fact the opposite. I do believe that every projection on the ‘Boomers” is off. Of the 17 friends (boomers) I have had in my life only 5 remain. The rest died in their 40s and 50s. “Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll”, obesity, early diabetes, and bad habits and stressful jobs have taken their toll on the Boomers. I think that the ‘Boomers” will decrease radically in the next 7 years, and many of the finical projections (SS & Medicare) are pointless.

  33. Ann2 years ago

    This is interesting!

    Although I don’t agree with beginning and end times, I don’t think that would make much difference.

    I’m a fan of the book Generations by Bill Strauss and Neil Howe. My take is similar to but not exactly the same as theirs: that Boomers extend from 1946 to 1960. GenX 1960 to 1980. Millennials from 1980 to 2000. And the generation they call the Homeland Generation from 2000 through now…

    All generations have their good qualities and their faults. And I do not feel the animosity that many people seem to feel toward any generation (except, perhaps sometimes, my own. Too many of us got pulled off course by the very power and greed that we were opposing and did not live up to our potential).

    I have a lot of hope for the Millennials. Things are rough for a lot of them right now — all too many are underemployed or unemployed because of the economic situation. Once the economy gets going, once Boomers and GenX’ers no longer feel they have to keep working in order to survive, things will open up for them.

    The Homeland generation may well have it rough, though — for some of them, their schooling has been test-driven and their parents have been helicoptering for pretty much their whole lives. Others are growing up severely restricted by class, by race, by religion, and by limited possibilities.

    My comments/observations are based on 40 years of teaching GenX, Millennial and half of the Homeland generations!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      GENERATION X started in 1965 when the birth rate sharply declined and lasted till 1979. Birth rates were high until 1964 , thus the term Boom. Born in 1965,I am the first wave of those GenXers. Those born in 1961 are still boomers as per Pew research.

  34. Noel2 years ago

    No way. The boomer “industry” is in the trillions, and we basically got 2008 because of them. However, those who do well are most marketers target. Advertised, “retirement, healthcare, life insurance benefits.” So of course this is relevant!

  35. drew2 years ago

    These people are making something out of nothing. Splitting the population like this is arbitrary and is nothing more than speculation. The baby boomers thing makes sense because their was a clear deviation from the norm. Other than that its garbage.

  36. jaybo2 years ago

    I was born in 1981 and I sure as hell am not a millennial. Strauss and Howe use 1982 as the Millennials’ starting birth year and 2004 as the last birth year.

    1. Mitchell2 years ago

      According to the “traditional” standard used by many prominent generational theorists, you are a late Gen Xer as the original term Gen X, coined by Coupland, (synonymous with the MTV Generation), ran from 1965-1985. Generation Y does not begin until 1986 and onward. Some sources still use these original dates but others continue to meddle with the dates causing confusion and arguments amongst various peoples and marketers.

      GI Gen – 1923-1943
      Boomers – 1944-1964
      Gen X – 1965-1985
      Gen Y – 1986-2006
      Gen Z – 2007-

      Strauss and Howe is a rival theory to the one I mentioned above, but we can all agree that if you were born in 1986 or after, you have always been labeled a millennial or Gen Y’er (not that there is anything wrong with that)

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I am gen y

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      I was born in 1978, and growing up I was generally not considered part of Gen X. Our teachers would often joke that they don’t know what we are, so called us Gen Y instead, which didn’t seem to be an actual term at the time, just something people would say as a joke.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        1978 is part of Gen X, for sure.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          Did you know that 1978 was a mini baby boom year? That’s because a lot of baby boomer women gave birth that year. So gen x can’t be defined solely as a period of time when the US birthrate was in decline. Another interesting fact about gen x. Before gen x was called gen x, it was called the baby bust. It was renamed gen x many years later probably by statisticians. Oy, vey. Where would we be without statistics? Probably doing something else.

  37. Feral Grognard2 years ago

    Having no problem with the numbers as this ancient demographics as to date of birth and age over time.

    I am having a problem with the ever increasing spin about Millennials impact on say the next two Presidential/Congressional election cycles as spun up by the more millennial than not media and talking heads these days.

    Puzzle me this, say in 2016 there are 75 million Boomers and 78 million Millennials, who are, in my humble experience in hiring them, equally disengaged “Gen Duh from Mom’s house.”

    How many of each group are likely to even vote comparatively would be the most relevant numbers game to discuss in say the next two election cycles (5 years)?

    1. Dustin Dawind2 years ago

      Have you considered the possibility that your hiring process needs to be improved? If you are hiring people who are not working hard it sounds to me like you are not doing a very good job weeding out the bad apples. As to your asinine comment about us living at home longer than previous generations, have you considered that maybe that is because we can’t afford to move out? We are now graduating with an average of $28,000 in student loan debt into an economy in which 44% of recent grads cannot find a full-time job, and wages continue to stagnate. But please, continue to tell me about how it’s my fault that I can’t afford to pay the rent for my own place because I’m just lazy.

      1. Mel2 years ago

        So it is ok to place that additional finacial hardship on your parents. The statistic you cited were not that different four years ago. So when you chose that path you chose that debt. So yes… It is your fault.

        1. Rei2 years ago

          Our parent’s generation had higher paying jobs, lower rent, and lower tuition costs to get them started. Our generation has none of those advantages. Quit telling yourselves lies and blaming our generation. Your generation voted for Bush and deregulation that has left most of our resources in the hands of a few hundred people. It is the Baby Boomers who their own mcmansions and cheap crap from Walmart that created these problems. Problems we are going to have to clean up from for the next few generations. But hey, you gave us the Beatles, Thanks Mom and Dad.

          1. John2 years ago

            This, one million times over. The Baby Boomers got a free ride on one of the best fiscal periods in American history, and that extended to leasing apartments, getting cars, and paying collegiate tuition. We’re on the hook for all the terrible decisions the Boomers have made and continue to make, including the sub-prime lending crisis that nearly tanked the whole economy.

      2. Savannah Smiles1 year ago

        The Outstanding Public Debt as of 21 Mar 2016 at 07:58:53 AM GMT is:
        $ 1 9 , 1 9 6 , 6 6 5 , 9 6 4 , 2 5 7 . 0 5

        The estimated population of the United States is 322,601,406
        so EACH citizen’s SHARE of this DEBT is $59,505.83.

        The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
        $2.47 billion per day since September 30, 2012!
        HELL yes we might still be living at home considering the debt you left us! Thanks for your Concern boomer jerk!

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          That’s the debt. What are the assets? Legit balance sheet question.

      3. T Tannin1 year ago

        Just ignore him. If he knew some history, he would know people have been living in multi-generational families for thousands of years, and, in many societies, still do. Leaving home at 18 to live all by your lonesome is a very recent phenomena.

    2. Jaquelynn Gering1 year ago

      All of my friends are planning to vote and depending on the State they last lived in, that’s no easy task!
      Based on your comment I have to assume you are either a) arrogant and biased or b) hiring for really awful jobs that responsible, hard-workjng millenials don’t need. I’ve worked 9 or 10 minimum wage jobs various places from the time I was in highschool until I graduated and got a “real” job in my field. The ONLY places I ran into the attitidude you describe (people lazy, calling in sick) were the ones that were poorly managed and poorly run… Target food area was one–not willing to work with my school schedule–aside from the two managers in my dept, the whole section turned over in the one month I worked there.
      Macy’s promised me 16 hrs per week and then began cosistently scheduling me for 4-8. I left to work for Kohl’s– same pay, respected my schedule, 16-24hrs/week, every week, managers who respected hard work even if we were young, and rewarded it with more hours or chances for promotion.
      If all you business can attract is poor workers who call in sick all the time or show up late and play with their phone, then look to your own business and ask why good workers are avoiding it.

  38. Curious2 years ago

    There appears to be another baby boom underway with both Millenials and XYers having babies –perhaps as economic conditions improve. 2014’s birth rate ticked up and I’d be willing to guess 2015’s birth rate is higher. If there evidence the birth rate has changed, what conditions precipitate a “new generation?” –ie are we already witnessing the Millennial Boom Boom so to speak..??

    1. Abbey C (TheOtherSink)2 years ago

      I’ve read that there was a significant post 9/11 birth rate increase with Gen-Xers having babies. It was said to begin late summer/fall of 2002. I’m a Gen-X, parents are boomers, and my kids are all Gen-Z, post 9/11. Their class sizes in school are staggering when compared to even a year or two grades ahead. If there was any question over a boom, those numbers would suggest there definitely was.

  39. Anita Cummings2 years ago

    I dare to challenge the opinion of a vote in Congress to the actual human usage and access to healthcare by former uninsured citizens of the United States.
    Does data exist comparing pre- ACA to post- ACA regarding uninsured / underinsured U S. citizens ? Pre ACA being number of persons uninsured and only getting emergency healthcare as needed and not visiting offices of physicians, not getting routine dental and not getting routine mammograms. VS Post ACA where now insured are visiting physicians offices, getting dental care and getting mammograms on a routine basis?

  40. Criticalthinkingmind2 years ago

    Both, public and private sectors, have different generations and perhaps first time in US history where more than three generations are “working” together. Boomers dominate within those sectors and that is the same generation that leaves this huge mess we have now. As for skills, a large disparity where the younger ones are always expected to use their many skills and ideas in solving issues that were caused by boomers. Yet, boomers are still in the workforce bragging about their “many years of experience,” how vested they are in their companies and how much money they have on their retirement accounts. Politicians, most of them boomers, are always asking us to continuing electing them so they could have another term in this big mess the caused. We know the challenge ahead of us, and we know we need to embrace it. Unlike boomers, we know we might never see retirement, we might never see those days where employers gave retirement money like Halloween candy. Please move out of the way, enjoy your retirement and allow us in the nation to be productive, to be producers, to fix this huge mess you created and leaving behind.

    1. Dave2 years ago

      You are the ones voting for Obama not the Boomets

      1. deb2 years ago

        Peace Man!

    2. gary simmons2 years ago

      “As for skills, a large disparity where the younger ones are always expected to use their many skills and ideas in solving issues that were caused by boomers.”

      Can you give us any specific examples where the younger gen solved issues caused by boomers?

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Yes, we waited out W. and voted in Obama. You’re welcome.

  41. Dan2 years ago

    Funny how information is distorted – the US Census, which tracks each birth in the US pegs this generation to total only 65.8 million, but somehow will over come the Boomers who had over 76 million births from 1946-1964.

    Yes there is immigration today that will add to these Millennials, but are we supposed to believe that there was immigration at all for those Baby Boomers?

    Apparently Mr. Frey and even Pew may be guilty of twisting data to meet a need. It would be nice to finally have someone or some agency actually tell the truth without an agenda

    1. Richard Fry2 years ago

      I concur with your figures on how many births there were in each generation. The 2nd graphic accompanying the blog reports similar birth numbers as you cite. But the size of generations is not completed determined by births. In addition, immigration occurs, but also death and emigration. Due to death and emigration the Census Bureau projects that there were 75.4 million Boomers in 2014, fewer than the 79 million Boomers at their peak and the original 76 million births that initiated the Boomers. The Census Bureau is simply taking account of additional demographic change in addition to births: immigration, emigration and death.

    2. BigJohn2 years ago

      There was immigration, but not as much and you have to factor in Baby Boomer deaths. The oldest Boomer is 69. Quite a few have died over the years, heart attacks, strokes, accidents, etc. Many more will die in the coming years. What is the life expectancy of an American now? 78? By the time they hit 78, half will be dead. Most of those who made it to the age of 65 will still be alive, but half of those people will be dead by the time they 83 or so, as life expectancy at 65 is maybe 18 years with many of the final years being unhealthy years. If not for immigration there wouldn’t be 75 million Boomers left. We have over 40 million immigrants now, but in 1970 there were only a little under 10 million. By 1980 there were about 14 million and by 1990 a little under 20 million. By 2000 there were over 31 million and by 2010 there were about 39 million immigrants in this country. So we’ve added over 30 million immigrants since 1970 and the majority came after 1990. Some would have been born during our Baby Boom years, but most were born after.

      I’m not sure how all this immigration happened but know that a major contributing factor in my little part of the South was our poultry processing plants. We had no Hispanics really when I was a kid. Now many of our schools are mostly Hispanic. When I was a kid we had a disused military base that they used for refugees coming from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. After those people came, Tyson stock went way up. All of the sudden they had a large influx of people who would work knee deep in chicken guts for peanuts. That didn’t last long as many of these people were professionals in their old countries, business owners, educated money making type people. They lived in crappy rent houses with chickens in the yards but bought nice cars. Then they started living in nicer places, getting better jobs, starting businesses and hiring their own, nail salons, restaurants, jewelry stores, insurance companies, clinics and so on. Chicken plants were back to hiring drunks and drug addicts who would work long enough to pay off their fines from all the trouble they’d been getting into, maybe. So, they started recruiting straight from Mexico. I worked as a lawyer and taught business law at a local university. I had human resource directors with no college degrees as students who were hired because they spoke Spanish. These guys were in many cases helping people get the documents they needed to work, pointing them in the right direction anyway. There were actually people recruiting in Mexico and there were actually tractor trailer rigs packed like sardines with illegal aliens bound for chicken plant jobs. A former state trooper friend of mine tells a story of how he stopped a truck with a trailer full of illegal aliens from Mexico but while on the side of the road got a call from Little Rock where he was told to let them go on their way to Springdale where they were needed to work at a chicken plant. Everybody was in on this. Big business brought most of the illegals here and now their families are still coming.

  42. peter2 years ago


    What are we calling the generation of children coming after the Millennials? I have not yet heard a name for them but they are already exhibiting some interesting characteristics as young children.

    1. Steph2 years ago

      Millenials are also called Generation Y, following from Gen X.
      Therefore the latest generation is often known as Gen Z.

    2. Daniel Tan2 years ago

      Gen Z is the most common one. Others includes Tweens, iGen, linksters, etc – see generationz.com.au for good infographics

      1. DragonMama2 years ago

        I graduated high school in 1995 and was pregnant with my 3rd child when that cut-off year ended. I suspect they’re going to have to do some shifting and clustering and shrinking of the cohorts going forward. Shifts in the age of women at first childbirth and total fertility (how many children each woman gives birth to) over the course of this “GenZ” is going to royally FUBAR their numbers. Total fertility started rising again in the last few years of that time span for the first time in about 30 years if memory serves, which combined with the average maternal age at first childbirth creeping upwards in that span of time means that the generation lines are going to get MIGHTY blurry. 2007 had more live births than the peak year of the Baby Boom, yet that is only 2 years before the cut-off on generationz.com.au. Average maternal age at first childbirth is around 25. Peak year of births in the Boomers was 1957. Add 25 to that gets you to 1982 which is pretty close to where they peg the start of Millenial generation. Add 25 to that, and you get 2007. We’re also tending to space our children a bit further apart than the Boomer sibling groups were spaced, which means that that 1957-born Boomer woman (probably not a 1st born in her own family) who gave birth to her first child in 1982 probably gave birth to a second child sometime between 1985 and 1990, which is right where we see the peak in the Milllenial’s birth numbers in the chart above. Average completed fertility for Boomer women, if I recall, was around 2, so let’s say our hypothetical 1957 Boomer woman had two children and both of them were daughters. Now that 1957 Boomer woman likely started becoming a grandmother by her firstborn 1982 daughter in 2007, when that daughter was 25. If total fertility is ticking up and she averages 3 children instead of two, then she might be still yet to give birth to her third child, depending on how far apart she choses to space them (since a child born in 2007 is only 8 years old now). If our 1957 Boomer woman spaced her daughters five years apart so that the second was born around that peak in 1987, she may not have even birthed her first child yet – it’s not uncommon to have first birth delayed until 30 or later, particularly if the educational trends for women are included in the analysis. She’s only 28 this year. Even if she had a her first baby at 25 like her sister, that baby was born in 2012 and according to generationz.com.au is well past the cutoff to be in the same generation as that baby/toddler’s cousins. Plus, one or both of these hypothetical Millennial women may be delaying additional children until they’re more sure of the economic recovery.

        I hope that helps understand why I fully anticipate the “Generation Z” numbers to require some shifting as birth numbers come in.

  43. LILLIAN PORTER2 years ago

    So, by 2028 most Boomers will be dead. They began to limit the number of their progeny, by delaying pregnancy and by having fewer children, otherwise the Gen Xers should have been at least twice the size of the Boomers. By 2028 many of the elder Millenials will be dying off. By 2050 the youngest Millenial will be 53.
    The recommended population fertilityy rate is 2.1 children per Mom (replaces Mommy and Daddy and includes a tiny amount of growth). Current U.S fertility rate is 2.01 and that is an average. There are a number of zero population zones in the U.S. Many countries, particularly the former Soviet Bloc nations, have negative population balances (Russian women averaged 8 pregnancies yet have one live child). The sale of adult diapers in Japan now exceeds baby diapers -that will help Japan’s economy for a minute. It was booming in the 80’s and has now taken a nose dive.
    ‘What To Expect When No One’s Expecting’, is a humorous and prophetic book about what the state of the world’s population really is. Population Research Institure is another resource. The movie ‘Demographic Winter’, on You Tube in two segments, presents interviews with eminent social scientists, including a Nobel Prize winning economist, giving information which disputes what the Zeitgeist has been spewing for decades.
    Ted Turner has said he would like to see the world’s population reduced to two million. Bill Gates and Co. would like to see one billion. If their Utopia is realized, who will build roads and shelter, who will grow food, who will be the employers and the employed? Those who are not members of their dynasties will be, in effect, their slaves. Which group are you likely to belong to?

    1. Not So Fast2 years ago

      Not so fast. Every baby boomer I know (I am one) children are all Millennials, NOT Gen Xers because we waited til our 30s to have children

      1. Robin Sentell2 years ago

        I am the child of a Boomer, and most of my friends are too. I am solidly in Gen X.

        1. Michele Hogan2 years ago

          And my sister and I are 11 months apart, both boomers. But my 3 children are all GenX – I had them in my teens and early twenties – and hers are Millenials – she waited. My point is that second-half boomers had kids in BOTH of the next two generations. And if I had been born a few years later than I was, both my oldest and I would have been GenX!

      2. Stephanie Rider1 year ago

        My father was born in ’43 and mother in ’48, so basically boomers. I came along in ’68. I have a brother and sister and we are all Gen X’ers.

        All of our children are Millenials, soooo it’s possible for the Gen X cohorts to have both Gen X and Millenial offspring.

  44. Bill2 years ago

    I was born in 1980, so I’m 35. I’ve seen articles define me as Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennial. This is why I think articles like this are complete BS.

    1. Tania2 years ago

      You are Gen X cause otherwise youll know you re Millennial.

    2. Mangaya Kposowa2 years ago

      You are gen Y, except when gen Y and millennial are mixed together, then you’re millennial. I mean there are not clear cut lines when it comes to generations, so I guess you’re kind of part of the transition lol.

    3. Abbey C (TheOtherSink)2 years ago

      I was born in 1980 as well but am fully in the Gen X crowd. You have to consider the generation of your parents, who you went to school with and just the general way in which you were raised. If you were born in 1980 to younger parents and were the oldest child, then you are probably more inclined to be a Gen Y but if you were the second plus child or youngest and your parents were 30+ then you’re probably a Gen X.

  45. Bruce Philp2 years ago

    Somebody has to help me understand how the Gen X population “will still grow”. Cohorts are defined by birth year, not age, and as far as I’m aware nobody is giving birth to 40 year olds. A very odd take.

    1. Richard Fry2 years ago

      Yes, generations are defined by year of birth, but populations do not remain unchanged from birth. First, death happens (so populations decline). But more to your point, immigration occurs. Immigrants come to the nation and if they are in the right age group, they increase the size of a generation. Gen X can still grow for a few more years because immigration outweighs deaths.

    2. Courtney W.2 years ago

      Hello Bruce,

      This came up as a question for me as well. I believe the answer is in immigration: “With immigration adding more numbers to its group than any other, the Millennial population is projected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. Thereafter the oldest Millennial will be at least 56 years of age and mortality is projected to outweigh net immigration. By 2050 there will be a projected 79.2 million Millennials.”

  46. Cynthia Harris2 years ago

    Very interesting read.

  47. Casey Stimson2 years ago

    About time… in about more 30 years things will finally start to get set straight

  48. John H.2 years ago

    Gen z was never mentioned. So i know there is no set date for gen y and z. But as a person who was born between 1995 and 2001 (rather not say how old i am) it seems like gen z would truly start after 2000.

    I go to school with people of all ages but you can notice even the one year age gap of 1999 and 2000 there are so many differences between the two years. Many people dont expect a year gap to mean alot but strangly this one does. Of course this is generalizing it there are some born before 2000 who act like teens of 2000 and above and vise versa.

    Whats your thoughts? Anyone think 1999 and 2000 is as i call it the “gap” year?

    (i totally think gen x should be called the music\rock era. Seems fitting with all the famous musicians)

    1. matt2 years ago

      Nope. Simply because a given year marks the split between generations does not mean that people are different. Personally, I’d say 5-10 years marks a difference because people are at different points in life and want different things.

      Example, college vs out of college. or Nearing Retirement vs Retired.

  49. Gilly B.2 years ago

    This is really interesting. Never heard of this until i stumbled onto this link. Would some of 1998 count as millennials? Because it seems the groups are sorted out by their culture and how they act. Because a few other links do different years like 1998 or even 2000 (?).

    Also how would reserchers know when what year certainly marks an end of an era? Would it be kind of blurred because of the changes?

    1. Richard Fry2 years ago

      Yes, it is possible that those born in 1998 might be “Millennials.” As the graphic defining the generations mentions, the Pew Research Center has not determined when the youngest “Millennial” was born. It takes considerable time before a consensus develops around the precise birth years defining a generation. To my mind, the number of births plays a prominent role, but clearly also information on attitudinal changes and demographic changes also play a role. Historical experiences also bear on the decision. I think it is a safe bet that precise demarcations of what constitutes the “Millennial” generation will be debated for the next several years (if not decades).

    2. Guest2 years ago

      Strauss and Howe who coined the term “Millennials” wrote they’re born from 1982 to 2004 (not 1998).

  50. shauna Herman2 years ago

    They are CLEARLY off on thier years for the Gen X group. As a generation X child i can assure you from our perspective there was a clear change in behavior, social awarness and crime rates that sarted with 1972 births – their end date is accuate but they need to move 7 years of people back into the baby boomer generation.

    1. Natalie2 years ago

      I’m glad you can speak on behalf of 65 million people!

    2. LT2 years ago

      Nope — the Baby Boom started right at the end of WWII with people born in the 1940’s. Those 60’s “hippies” everyone references -who were mostly teenageers and 20 somethings in the 60’s? Baby Boomers. There is no way you can lump anyone born in 1965 forward in that group. Completely different milestones. Those born in the mid to late 60’s were babies or children in the 70’s and had the same generational touchstones as those born from 1972 – 1980. If you want to call them something else, fine, but they have nothing in common with Baby Boomers.

      1. AP2 years ago

        LT – I disagree. I was born in 1966 and do not share much with those born six years later than me. I have two older brothers born in the later years of the baby boomer generation. My wife is a baby boomer according to birth year. I do think there is a between (“tweener”) generation that overlaps this author’s definition of both baby boomer and Gen X. Yes, it is fair to conclude that I am skeptical of where the author draws the line between the generations. I am also skeptical of the broad conclusions placed on each generation. There does not seem to be any weight given to the various influences from previous generations. As with much research like this, I take it with a grain of salt.

        1. Tigoni2 years ago

          This “tweener” generation between Boomer and Xer—-as you call it—is part of the ignored and X’ed out part of Gen X which is the first wave of Gen-X and it ACTUALLY starts in 1961— not 1965— 1961, 62 and 63 got lumped in with the Boomers when really those were the very years the birthrates had dropped down back to normal pre-war rates. The actual baby Bust is only a few years long and so birth rates for Gen-X were changed be the MEDIA. 1961-1965 wss NOT a continuation of the babyboom, nor are those born in those years different enough from people born in 1972 to be considered a different generation from the rest of the Xers.

  51. Michele DiCola2 years ago

    Thank you Richard for this vital information !
    I have never really thought of the generations in this light before; you have given me great fodder for more conversations to have with my Gen X ‘s !
    They frequent my office and many subjects come up anything from algebra to zinc !
    And reading some of these blogs is quite beneficial !

    1. Richard Fry2 years ago

      Glad that the projections are useful.

  52. Peter Tharaldson2 years ago

    It is very nice to see a research article written by a researcher. I have seen too many articles written or narrated by journalists, including those who work within Pew, who really miss a lot of things.

    Finally a discussion as to construct validity, even discussing how we come about generations. A realization that GENX, for instance, is not only smaller because of lower birth rates, but also because researchers made it smaller (when controlling for the year reduction it appears to be about 8% smaller than the Millennial generations.

    A bigger problem with all this research is that in reality, the data suggest that there is really no organic bucketing…that in point of fact generations cannot be categorized. If I did a K-means cluster analysis I wouldn’t even have a chance at finding these generations in the data. In reality, changes over time are quite a bit more of a gentle slope line.

    The effects of contriving this type of bucketing are profound. Anyone in the workplace can see what’s going on. Those of us now in our early 40’s, even if far more progressive on every millennial aspirational value, are frankly starting to see some very strange workplace behavior on how companies value their employees. It’s certainly not as bad as for those who are older, but it’s there. I think the misunderstanding of the person versus the group, compounded by simple categorical analysis, is what is to blame.

    So while this is a good article, it’s time for researchers to go back to fundamental basics.

  53. Nancy3 years ago

    As a Gen X blogger about Generation Z, I appreciate your statistics. And I have two points to add:
    1. Birth Years of Gen Z – I am trying to solidify the birth years for Generation Z. I believe it’s 1996-2010. I explain why I believe this on my blog page -gettinggenz.com/whoisgenz. There are 1.86 billion Gen Zers globally yet only 23 million in the US. The majority of Gen Zers come from developing and underdeveloped markets.
    2. Gen Z Behavior – Please consider how each generation was raised. Gen Zers, like other generations, are a product of their childhood which is happening now. For example, neglected Gen X dedicates any non-working time to their Gen Z children. Thank you.

  54. gus olsen3 years ago

    It’s great to read some semi-hard data on the Silent, Boomer, Gen X, Y (and soon Z?) age groups. There seems to be little consensus on definitions so comparative analysis is still difficult and bewildering. *!?*

  55. Jeremy Flannery3 years ago

    I think it would be beneficial to the United States to increase the quota for legal immigration, which would also address the reduced marriage and birth rates among young adults. The Millenial Generation is facing a difficult time in our nation’s economy, which is one reason why young adults are putting off the plan to get married and have children: college tuition rates have tripled since the turn of the 21st century – for example, undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati used to cost about $4,000 per year for a full-time student in 2001, and now the cost is about $12,000 per year. At the same time, minimum wage and the federal poverty line have not kept pace with the rate of inflation and cost of living in the U.S. Young adults cannot “go get a summer job” to pay for tuition, and such a job would appear to offer good pay without a college degree. The Cato Institute offers economic arguments for why immigrants are beneficial to the U.S.: cato.org/research/immigration From there, one can find the “research by topic” link at the top of the Web site to review the facts they use to support the claim. And more immigrants will change the demographics for this specific survey and projection, which I think would be a lot of fun to watch.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      so adding more people to fight for those few jobs is in our best interest?

  56. Alec3 years ago

    Interesting that you decided to append another year to the generation, as you were using 1996 as the youngest Millennial last year? Any specific reason you moved that floor to 1997 this year? That might explain why the generation is passing Boomers this year.

    1. Richard Fry3 years ago

      You are correct that including those born in 1997 is consequential. If “Millennials” are instead defined as those 19 to 34 in 2015 then “Millennials” do not surpass Boomers in size until 2019 according to the Census Bureau population projections. So the definition matters.

      The Pew Research Center has tended to set the lower age limit of Millennials at 18. The reason for that is that much of our research is based on our own survey data. We typically tend to survey adults, i.e., those age 18 and older. I am not a survey researcher myself, but my understanding is that it is much more expensive to survey teens. So partly for reasons of cost we have set the lower age limit of “Millennials” at 18. But we realize that as time elapses that younger Millennials may no longer share similar important characteristics with older Millennials. There may come a time when research judges that the last “Millennial” was born in a particular year. Perhaps that year was 1996. May be that year was 1997. As stated in the 3rd graf of the post, the Pew Research Center has not made a determination as to what year the last “Millennial” was born. But to do the analysis I needed to pick a year and I assumed 1997. You are correct that that assumption is important.

      1. Guesty2 years ago

        Strauss and Howe who coined the term “Millennials” write that the last birth year for them is 2004. So they’re born from approx. 1982 to 2004 — a 22 year time span. A generation is at least a 20 year time span.

    2. John Dangheart3 years ago

      Millennials have been getting a bad rap even before they started to show up on professional teams. The Baby Boomers who raised the Millennials spent way too much time trying to make them all feel “special”. We need to understand that Millennials are not just looking for a job, they really want to get started on a career.


      Just Give them a chance… Boomers are at the end of there Century

      1. Lil2 years ago

        Boomers still need to make ends meet. As a professional nurse for many years I earned a good income. But as a single parent I spent my income and my inheritance on my kids needs. My investments took a nose dive in 2008 when the stock market went into a downward spiral. So, now I live on social security, which gives me one third of what I was earning. The government takes $100 of that for Medicare, though I paid into that system biweekly for 40 years. So I am living to pay pre-existing bills. I sought bankruptcy and a local lawyer was willing to help me pro-bono because I could demonstrate how poor I am. Bankruptcy was not going to be much help as I only have one unsecured debt. (Thank God for my Millenial son who is generous with helping me get from paycheck to paycheck and has assumed three of my bills). I earn just enough to not qualify for any assistance with food, housing, power bills. I have reactivated my RN license and am actively looking for work so that I can afford haircuts and clothing and buy the occasional present for birthdays and Christmas. Sorry. It is more of a dog-eat-dog culture in this “progressive” world.

        1. Me2 years ago

          It’s not a progressive world, the conservatives have held Congress 18 of the last 20 years.

      2. Daphne Riggs2 years ago

        My generation raised the Millennials too. My kids are ALL Millennials. If you did further research than this, you would see why we raised them the way we did. However, I managed to make sure mine turned into productive adults and they are… This article covers it. jenx67.com/who-is-generation-x

  57. Jayq3 years ago

    I think is speak for all gen y/millennials when I say, to us, you are all equally lame.

    1. Nico2 years ago


  58. SusanRC3 years ago

    You had better consult with the American Demographic experts that originally defined these cohorts. Then, you may have a different and less erroneous ( and irresponsible) conclusion. The birth years for Gen X are 1965 to 1976. The birth years for Gen Y are 1977 to 1994 and the birth years for Gen Z are 1995 to 2009. Millennials (really Gen Z cohort) have been inadvertently grouped with Gen Y …when the term millennial refers to 2000.

    1. Guest3 years ago

      Strauss and Howe (who are widely credited with coining the term “Millennials) use 1982 to 2004 birth years to define them.

    2. Nick2 years ago

      Mellennials refers to Gen Y, not Gen Z. Gen Z (much like Gen Y in the 90’s) does not yet have a name. You are right that the term millennial refers to 2000. The reason why Strauss and Howe called people born from 1982 until the late 90’s/early 2000’s Millennials, is because people born in 1982 became adults in 2000.

      1. Bebe2 years ago

        I agree with Dove and WXA. I am an only child who had older parents. My mother was born in 1950 (Boomer), and my father was born in 1941. I am not a Millennial.

        Why does Pew Research keep using 1981 as the start date for Millennials, despite the fact that MOST sources used and continue to use 1982 as the start date. Gen-X is 1961-1981. Some sources use 1963-1981, but the end date has almost always been 1981. I contributed to the Wikipedia articles and had to make tons of corrections, and of course, used reputable sources from around the world. There are lots of debates on start dates because of confusion stemming from Pew’s incorrect start date, which was based solely on an old Ad Age article written in the early 1990s. The info I got from the 1993 Ad Age article referenced on Wikipedia stated that Generation Y first described children of the day, which they defined as different from Generation X—then aged 11 or younger as well as the teenagers of the upcoming ten years. In that article, they used a 1981 birth date, but I was born in 1981 and I was 12 in 1993. Also, the Ad Age demographics magazine currently uses 1982 as the start date.

        Millennials were born starting from January 1982, but if you were born from around September through December of 1981, you graduated in 2000 – and therefore were also considered a Millennial (though I suppose you could be split). I turned 18 in 1999. That’s when you’re an adult. The majority of Millennials turned 18 in 2000. The dates are tricky, but it’s stupid to include 1981 as part of the Millennial cohort to increase the numbers (that totally skews research, mind you) just because a few of those born in the late fall and winter graduated in 2000. You would be lumping the rest of 1981 with Milennials. I am most definitely NOT a Millennial. I even remember being told that I was the last of Gen X as a teenager. I went to an all-girls private school in Texas, and when I graduated, the “next” class took our place – they were called The Millennials. I remember wondering why my group didn’t have a special name. That’s because the next class was “special.” I was never lumped in with Millennials until after 2003. One author (who is not even reknown like Strauss or Howe), Elwood Carlson, used 1983 as the start date, but only because he was using 9/11 as a reference point. The problem is Millennials became adults and graduated high school in 2000 not 2001. Millennial refers to those who became adults at the turn of the century/beginning of the new century. This refers to those born mostly in 1982 (can also include those born in very late 1981 -but the date shouldn’t be included in the the range, because then you’d include the last of Gen-X)

        Moreover, though I had a couple of friends who were younger than me, most of my friends were my age or up to ten or so years older. I couldn’t relate to the “civic-minded” Millennials. Strauss and Howe were right on target about that description. (They also talked about two waves of Millennials; the first being born between 1982 and 1989. The second born starting in 1990.) My younger Milllennial friends are more liberal or Democrat, and my friends my age and older and I are mostly Reagan Republicans.

        Also, my younger friend who graduated high school in 2000 signed up with Facebook when it started. None of my friends my age had Facebook until at least 2007 or later. Zuckerberg himself was born in 1982 and started Facebook in college. My classmates were finished with university in early 2003.

        I wish Pew Research would fix the dates. Other sources mostly use 1981, but some still refer to Pew Research date ranges, even though newspaper article use information from Strauss and Howe as well as research from Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais (see Harvard articles as well). There was even a U.S. Military article about Millennials, and they used 1982 as the starting point.

        I listed sources from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand that also mostly use 1982 as the start date for the Millennial Generation/Generation Y on both Generation X and Millennial Generation pages. There was also a special Millennial Conference (I think with mostly American and Canadian companies, some British) devoted to Millennials; they also used 1982 as the start date.

        It’s frustrating, because I want my generation to have a date range, but so many people are using strange dates, either starting from 1975, 1977, 1979, 1980, or even as late as 1983. Anyone born from 1982 on is a Millennial. 1965-1980 is not the correct range.1965 is too late a start date. It’s also important to note that one time when a British psychologist and Strauss and Howe use the phrase “born after 1982,” some people erroneously concluded that the authors meant born from 1983 onward. However, in those same sources, both early and after, they used “1982-” or “born in 1982.” I believe by “born after,” all three authors meant “born after January 1982.” There really needs to be a final consensus on this, since other generations have set dates.

        Please use the correct dates 1961-1981 for Generation X, and 1982 as the starting year for Generation Y/Millennials. That is what has been generally used. And forget Generation Jones – that was only used by one magazine writer, and it’s not a real generation. A generation is generally 20 years – usually split into two waves. 1982 Millennial babies who graduated in 2000 are the first group representing this large generation.

        I have seen Jon Miller’s stats used (84 million), but then Pew Research or some other research group adds on their own date ranges. How can you use that number and then use a different date range. ABC News was also guilty of this. Even though back in the mid-1990s, they reported using 1982 as the start date for Millennials. That was also the first time the name Millennials was announced on television.

        1. John lord2 years ago

          Actually, Zuckerberg was born in 1984 and how exactly does someone born only you have such a vastly different life experience. In my experience, the two age groups almost always seemed interchangeable

    3. Dove2 years ago

      Gen-X is 1961-1981. There is a ton of research from many years of studies – fortunately people have been adding to Wiki: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X – definitely worth a read, because people stay trying to reduce Gen-X to a small demographic, when we are the largest demo in the U.S. right now.

    4. Jesme Tabli2 years ago

      I’ve always thought of a generation as a being defined by a consistent span of time, such as 20 or 25 years, based on reproductive averages rather than on cultural factors.

      This approach allows for four or five (as determined), generations within each century, rather than a series of inconsistent, arbitrary designations – in flux and in conflict across organizations. Sociocultural elements – discussed above as integral to the concept of “generation” – can then be handled independently from the concept of “generation” – via “trends,” cohort experiences, etc. It can be said, i.e., “During the latter part of the fourth generation of the 21st century, thus and such trend emerged, and carried into…,”

      This approach would eliminate waiting for and controversy over generational demarcation and definition, as well as future revisions to these. The result of this would be greater clarity, focus, and application of findings.

    5. Tigoni2 years ago

      Those dates sound sort of based on fashion or a few main events rather than demographics. 1965 as the start of Gen-X (U.S. fully involved in Vietnam war) and 1976 (just after Vietnam) as the end of Gen-X? I never knew an entire generation could be only 11 years long—-unless you look only at birth rates or wars. So lets make the Silient Generation 1941-1945.

  59. WXA3 years ago

    If we add up the numbers in your chart titled “Birth Years Underlying Each Generation” then we only get 305 million people in the U.S. However, we know that there are about 330 million people here.

    There are only about 5 million G.I.s left — so the chart is missing 20 million people.

    1. Richard Fry3 years ago

      I am sorry, the sum of the number of births does NOT equal the population. Aside from births the population is influenced by the number of immigrants and emigrants. For this reason, the sum of the births will NOT equal the population. Oh, also the births chart does not show births before 1928, some of whom (the Greatest generation) are still alive.

      1. WXA3 years ago

        Your point is valid. But as I said there are only about 5 million G.I.s living in the U.S. It’s probably more clear to use current numbers — instead of births. Like this chart from the Census. census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c…

  60. Chris3 years ago

    How many Gen. Xers are there currently in the US? The graph leads one to think 66 million, but the text says “The Census Bureau projects that the Gen X population will peak at 65.8 million in 2018.”

    1. Richard Fry3 years ago

      The graph rounded off the Gen X population to the nearest million and plotted the 2014 number. The Census Bureau projects that there are 65.7 million Gen Xers in 2015. For a few more years net migration will outweigh mortality among the Gen X population and thus the Census projects the Gen X population will grow to 65.8 million in 2018.

      1. WXA3 years ago

        Using what birth years though?

      2. Peter Tharaldson2 years ago

        For the record the census bureau projects that there are 65.7 million people in the years that some consider generation x. The Census Bureau, as a matter of policy, does not do generational bucketing of individuals.

        1. WXA2 years ago

          Actually, if you use equal 20 year age spans for each generation, then according to this U.S. Census chart there are about 82 to 84 million Gen Xers in the U.S. See page four census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c…

  61. Susan3 years ago

    For Mr./Ms./Mrs.”I am loathe to define Gen Xers as commencing before 1965″

    My mother born 1947. She’s a Boomer. She listened to Frank Sinatra, Brenda Lee and Dean Martin.

    I was born 1962. I’m a Gen X. I listened to the Monkees, Blondie, and Nirvana.

    My mother and I, we’re not the same generation.

    Douglas Coupland, who coined the term “Gen X” and wrote about his Gen X angst in “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture,” was born in 1961.

    1. Richard Fry3 years ago

      You classify yourself as you deem appropriate. I respect your perceptions. Earlier in the thread I mentioned the Census Bureau. To bolster our research defining the Baby Boomers as spanning 1946 to 1964, I will also note the opening sentence of Wikipedia’s entry on “Baby boomers:” “Baby boomers are people born during the demographic Post–World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964.” Again, the precise boundaries of the “Millennials” may still be in flux, but I think there is more consensus on “the boomers” as time proceeds.

      1. Dove2 years ago

        Hmmm… since when does the census dictate the Generations? Here is some real research. Susan is correct. lsay.org/GenX_Rept_Iss1.pdf

    2. Jason Hawksworth3 years ago

      Wow, so your mother born in 1947 had you when she was 15? Your mother, born in 1947 would have only been 19 when the Monkeys hit the scene. I’d say you are pretty much in the same generation. Debbie Harry (Blondie) is two years older than your mom as well? Did you possibly mean 1937?

      1. Lil2 years ago

        When I was 17, I had an American friend of the same age who had already been married and divorced. When I came to the U.S. I worked in the obstetrical clinic. Most of the Moms were around 15 years old and married. Yes, in this country until perhaps the late seventies, it was not uncommon for Moms to be emancipated teenagers.

    3. Tigoni2 years ago

      Douglas Copeland, Art Linkletter, Brad Pitt, Jonny Depp, Conan O’ brien, Collin Quin, Paula Poundstone, Lisa Kudrow, many early members of Grunge bands, Barak Obama, etc, etc, all born before 1965 and after 1960. Gen-Xers culturaly and demographicaly. It’s the FRONT LINE.

    4. Robin Sentell2 years ago

      My dad was born in 1949, and I can assure you, he did not listen to Brenda Lee and Dean Martin. That was the music of “old” people, his parents. He is more into Jazz but he listened to the Beatles, the Stones etc.

      I was born in 1970. We grew up on disco and “old” music like Led Zepplin. We also ahd that lovely decade called the 80’s with Michael J, Madonna, Def Leppard and Van Halen.

      As I fellow “gen xer”, your experiences are far more like my parents, than mine. I find a huge gap in experience on anyone more than 4 or 5 years older than me. They think and act more like the boomers I have come to know. Just my opinon.

      1. Tigoni2 years ago

        My parents were born in the early 40s, had me in the early 60s and they TOO listened to jazz and the Beatles. Then when they found ME listening to LED Zepplin, Neil Young, Blondie and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, they got into some of THAT. So being born more than 5 years before 1970 does NOT make someone a Boomer even if they lived under a ROCK all their life with Boomers— not saying I did. If you just go by culture, you can be anything you want or think you are—or NOT. That’s not the same as a generation—-which is organized around date ranges.

  62. Kevin C. Bullard3 years ago

    The primary reason for the size of Gen X is they are generally children of the Silent generation, which was born during the Great depression. In bad economic times, couples have fewer children. Less Silent generation members means less Gen X.

    1. Richard Fry3 years ago

      While I concur that the size of Gen X may be in part influenced by the size of the Silent generation, I am not sure that that is the “primary reason.” Seems to me that the births occurring between 1965 and 1980 is partly influenced by the number of women of child-bearing age during those years (your observation) but also on the fertility rates of those women. So I am not sure that it is necessarily true that “Less Silent Generation members means less Gen X.” Don’t we also need to look at fertility rates?

      1. WXA3 years ago

        There are about 84 million people in the U.S. who were born between 1961 and 1981. If you want to argue that the years 61′ to 64′ are not “Gen X” then just move it to 65′ to 85′. Each generation is about a 20 year span.

        One generation isn’t a 13 year span and then another one is a 22 year span. That’s ridiculous.

        There are 330 million people here in the U.S. — so it makes sense. See page four (4) of this U.S. Census report and add it up for yourself. At census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c…

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          85 can never be gen x and it’s silly when people include that in that cohort

    2. Lil2 years ago

      No, in bad economic times, as is reflected all over the world, more children are born. An African American physician I worked with twenty five years ago, stated that when cultures are under stress and at risk for extinction, they will have more babies. From an evolutionary standpoint that makes sense. The parents of the eldest boomers were certainly stressed. They were separated for a couple of years during wartime. The spouses and children had to eke out a living. In my own country, my Mom, brother aged 3 years and sister aged 3 months, were evacuated out of London to Scotland, then to Ireland. My Dad went to work every day during the time that London was bombed. The area around my home had a lot of damage (It was near where Eisenhower had his HQ). Though I was born two years after the war ended, I remember rationed food and blackout curtains at the windows.

  63. WXA3 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”. Masnick concluded that immigration has filled in any birth year deficits during low fertility years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. See housingperspectives.blogspot.com…

    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. Richard Fry3 years ago

      Thanks for the references. I concur that analysts differ in their definition of Gen X. I do think there is a consensus that Boomers span 1946 to 1964. Even the Census Bureau put its cache behind defining Boomers as 1946-64. See their report on Boomers that is hyperlinked in the post. Given that I am loathe to define Gen Xers as commencing before 1965.

      1. WXA3 years ago

        The “boom” in births in the U.S. ended in 1960. Could you tell us why those years are still called the “boom”? Strauss and Howe use 1943 to 1960 for the boomers.

        1. Jayq2223 years ago

          Because, obviously, these divisions are necessarily imprecise and the definition of “boom” is entirely subjective.

          1. Tigoni2 years ago

            It is subjective, ultimately, for many reasons— one of which is the fact that generational birth rates and cultures have varied since the dawn of human history. What we refer to as THE “baby boom” is only ONE “boom”. The Millennials are actually the larger generation and their children may be yet another ” boom” or another “X”. But we are subjective, at the end of the day. There have always been ” booms” and “busts” but we talk about the ones we live with. So, getting back to basics: generations last about 20+/- years—not 10 or 15—and they are not REALLY based on birth RATES–but birth DATES (trends and fads notwithstanding) and, before all the hype and tripe, “Boomers” were 1943-1960.

        2. bbobb2 years ago

          The boom peaked in 1957, and ended in 1964.

          1. Tigoni2 years ago

            No. The boom ended in 1960 when birthrates began returning to normal.

        3. Tigoni2 years ago

          It is a FACT the boom ended in 1960. Those of us born after 1960 are X. But we got X’ed OUT. Wiped out, hence, us firstwavers are hardcore Gen-X.