Pew Research Center

Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

Millennials are on the cusp of surpassing Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2016 (the latest date for which population estimates are available), Millennials, whom we define as ages 20 to 35 in 2016, numbered 71 million, and Boomers (ages 52 to 70) numbered 74 million. Millennials are expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) 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 aging and their numbers shrinking in size as the number of deaths among them exceeds the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.

Because generations are analytical constructs, it takes time for popular and expert consensus to develop as to the precise boundaries that demarcate one generation from another. Pew Research Center has assessed demographic, labor market, attitudinal and behavioral measures and has now established an endpoint – albeit inexact – for the Millennial generation. According to our revised definition, the youngest “Millennial” was born in 1996This post has been updated accordingly (see note below).

Here’s a look at some generational projections:

Millennials

Generation X

Baby Boomers

Note: This post was originally published on Jan. 16, 2015. It was updated April 25, 2016, under the headline “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation,” which reflected the Center’s definition of Millennials at the time (born between 1981 and 1997). This third version reflects the Center’s newly revised definition, under which Millennial births end in 1996.