Most researchers agree on the fact that the Generation X age range is the group of people that were born between 1965 and 1980, so the Generation X age range in 2021 is between 56 and 41 years old. The think tank Pew Research Center, which is 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. Some other points of view locate Generation X slightly different, between 1965 and 1979.
Also called the latchkey generation, this has been a small but rebellious generation that definitely remains influential in today’s world.
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 according to his point of view, the Generation X range in 2020 is between 55 years old and 35 years old. During the two decades between 1965 and 1984, there were around 69 million births in North America, against 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 labor market and with women liberation families were less numerous than in the past. Therefore, there were fewer people being born in the next twenty years.
If we follow Masnick’s theory, the Millennial age range is set later than with other proposals. Now, 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 in between generations when things changed fast. The Xennials age range in 2020 is between 41 years old and 35. The characteristic of this small generation is that they had an analog childhood (similar to the Generation X experience) but they had completely digital adulthood (similar to the Millennials experience).
Let’s dig a bit further into this very interesting generation that is still leading our world in economical and cultural terms. Besides being a small generation, what do the X Gens have in common?
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 took place.
In technological terms, they grew up with the development of the personal computer and under the light of the color TV, and read printed newspapers and magazines. Just to give you a turning point fact, the Apple Macintosh computer kickstarted in 1984 (which is the exact year when this generation would finish for some theories), which sets the arising of a period of accelerated changes in the development of the personal computer.
Because they were not so many as the generation before and they did not have the immense cultural footprint, they have been somehow in the shadows of the baby boomers.
There are several nicknames for this generation that somehow underestimate them and that can tell us a lot about the ways they have been seen over the years. The magazine Life coined for this small generation the nickname “20-Nothings”, while their big contra cultural presence drove to the “Grunge kids” appellative.
Generation X was made popular 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. The nickname “latchkey generation” has its origins in the fact that their mothers were the first generation to work outside 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. The Washington Post called them the Baby Bust in 1984 when the birth rate broke again the numbers previous to 1964.
A big part of the contemporary cultural world, the sports world, and the major industries are nowadays led by big Gen X’s names. The most famous actors at this time, like Julia Roberts or Leonardo di Caprio, the most beloved sportsmen, including Tom Brady or Andre Agassi all born between 1964 and 1979. The music world has enormous pop figures who will be forever classics, like Dr. Dre or Eminem. The most successful and influential technology companies CEOs are also part of that (not so techie) generation, like Jeff Bezos from Amazon and Satya Nadella of Microsoft.
So we now know that the idea of a small, lost generation is not a complete image after all.