Most researchers agree that the Generation X age range is the group of people born between 1965 and 1980, so the Generation X age range in 2023 is between 58 and 43 years old. Pew Research Center, an authority in the demographic field, also determines this generation as the cohorts between 1965 and 1980.
They are considered as having come to age between the late ’80s and the early ’90s. However, some other points of view locate the Gen X years slightly different, between 1965 and 1979. According to these dates, the Gen X age range in 2023 is between 58 and 42.
Also called the latchkey generation, a small but rebellious generation that definitely remains influential in today’s world.
The kickstart for Generation X is out of the discussion, but what year is Generation X finishing?
George Masnick sets a lapsus of twenty years per and in between generations. According to his perspective, Generation X consists of cohorts between 1965 and 1984. So, from his point of view, the Generation X range in 2023 is between 58 and 38 years old.
During the two decades between 1965 and 1984, there were around 69 million births in North America. This is a small number, compared to the 79+ million birth in the twenty years between 1945 and 1964 and 1985 and 2004, respectively. This would characterize Generation X as a demographic gap between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials.
But what happened? With the inclusion of women in the labour market and women liberation, families were less numerous than in the past. Therefore, fewer people were being born in the next twenty years.
If we follow Masnick’s theory, the Millennial age range is set later than with other proposals. However, if we follow other points of view, which set the limit for Generation X in 1979 and 1980, there is a couple of years gap between Generation X and the Millennials.
Some authors locate a micro-generation between Generation X and the Millennials, which they call Xennials, a small group of years between generations when things changed fast. The Xennials age range in 2023 is between 44 years old and 38. The characteristic of this small generation is that they had an analogue childhood (similar to the Generation X experience), but they had utterly digital adulthood (similar to the Millennials experience).
Let’s dig further into this exciting generation still leading our world in economic and cultural terms. Besides being a small generation, what defines Gen X?
Generation X characteristics
In political terms, they grew up during the cold war, although young they could understand the political meaning of the Soviet Union dissolution and were adults when the 1997 financial crash occurred.
Other Gen X characteristics are related to technology. First, they grew up with the development of the personal computer and read printed newspapers and magazines under the light of the colour TV. Then, to give you a turning point, the Apple Macintosh computer kickstarted in 1984 (which is the same year this generation would finish for some theories), which sets the arising of a period of accelerated changes in the development of the personal computer.
Generation X meaning and nicknames
Because they were not so many as the generation before and did not have a vast cultural footprint, they have been somehow in the shadows of the baby boomers.
Several nicknames for this generation somehow underestimate them, which can tell us a lot about how they have been seen over the years. The magazine Life coined the nickname “20-Nothings” for this small generation, while their big contra cultural presence drove the “Grunge kids” appellative.
The nickname “latchkey generation” has its origins because their mothers were the first generation to work outside the home, the Generation X kids were the first to be left unattended alone after school, and being home alone meant great independence for the kids back then. However, the Washington Post called them the Baby Bust in 1984 when the birth rate broke the numbers previous to 1964 again.
Why did they call it Generation X?
Generation X was made famous by the novel from 1991 about this contra-cultural and rebellious generation, written by Douglas Coupland. Other early nicknames were “13th Gen” and the “MTV generation”, as this big pop culture station is characteristic of their time.
A big part of the contemporary cultural world, sports, and major industries is led by big Gen X’s names. For example, the most famous actors, like Julia Roberts or Leonardo di Caprio, the most beloved sportsmen, including Tom Brady or Andre Agassi, were born between 1964 and 1979.
The music world has enormous pop figures who will be forever classics, like Dr Dre or Eminem. CEOs of the most successful and influential technology companies are also part of that (not so techie) generation, like Jeff Bezos from Amazon and Satya Nadella from Microsoft.
So we now know that the idea of a minor, lost generation is not a complete image after all.