Defining generations


Millennials, Baby Boomers, Generation X… these are some of the terms you may have come across, books have been written about it too. You might have heard people say “millennials are the worst”. But what exactly is a millennial? You might also be interested to know which generation you are part of. This blog post is designed to give you some clarity regarding the different phrases and their definitions. Hold on tight, as we start our journey through the years!

Lost Generation

Born: 1883 -1900

The lost generation refers to the post World War I generation. Gertrude Stein, a novelist,  coined the phrase lost generation. The reason why this generation was termed lost was because many people became disillusioned and no longer held prevalent values. Ernest Hemingway described this generation as wounded, literally and metaphorically. Famous people from this generation include Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway and J.R.R. Tolkien.

G.I. Generation

Born: 1901 – 1924

This generation was born too late to serve in World War I, but early enough to experience the Great Depression and World War II. G.I. is a military term which stands for Government Issue. This generation is also called  the Greatest Generation, a term coined by the journalist Tom Brokaw who wrote a book called The Greatest Generation. This generation experienced most of their youth during a time of fast-paced technological innovations. People from this generation were very loyal to their jobs and were community-oriented. Famous people from this generation include: Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Walt Disney.

Silent Generation

Born: 1925 – 1942

People born in this period are described as silent because many were encouraged to conform to social norms. Therefore, many focused on their careers rather than activism. Simply put, they did not rise to protest. Those who form part of this generation grew up during The Great Depression and were too young to fight in World War II. They are characterised as individuals who respected authority and were loyal to others. Famous people from this generation include: Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe and Martin Luther King Jr.

Baby Boomers

Born: 1946 – 1964

The name itself is explanatory. After World War II, there was an increase in birth rates due to the return of soldiers who came home. The increase in population also had an effect on the economy, as more people resulted in an increase in consumer demand and consequently in manufacturing and production. This generation also saw the increase of woman in the workforce, and some woman took over male dominated roles. Baby Boomers also saw a decrease in marriage rates as well as an increase in divorce rates. Famous people from this generation include: Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana, Bill Clinton and Meryl Streep.

Generation X

Born: 1965 – 1980

This generation saw a decline in population following the immense increase after the baby boomers generation. People from Generation X are often referred to as the latchkey or daycare kids because many Gen-Xers were left to look after themselves. Reasons for this include an increase in the divorce rate as well as an increase in both parents entering the workforce. As a result of this, many Gen-Xers developed independence. Some of the most influential websites we use today such as Google and YouTube were developed and created by Gen-Xers. Famous people from this generation include: Quentin Tarantino and Elon Musk.

Millennials or Generation Y

Born: 1980 – 1994

Millennials can also sometimes be referred to as echo boomers for two reasons. First, because there was an increase in population in the 1980s and 1990s. Second, echo boomers are the children of Baby Boomers. Millennials are described as a tech-savvy generation because they have been exposed to a digital world from a very young age. They have also been described as a generation that loves change and are experts at multitasking. The Great Recession has said to impact Millennials the most, causing a decrease in employment rates among this population. Famous people from this generation include: Mark Zuckerberg and Ashton Kutcher.

Generation Z

Born: 1995 – present

Gen-Zers are a highly digital and tech-savvy generation, constantly immersed in social media (most people from this generation don’t remember a time before social media). Gen-Zers regard social media as a platform that will boost their popularity and self-esteem. Generation Z is already changing how brands interact with consumers.

Famous people from this generation include: Romeo Beckham and Elle Fanning.