Definition of Millennials
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, is a generational cohort born roughly between the years of 1980 to 2000. Millennials are young adults aged 16-34.
Like every other generation, Millennials have experienced the same significant events during their lifetime, which have shaped their attitudes and beliefs.
Every generation, Gen X Gen Y Gen Z Baby Boomers , has been affected by the cultural, social and economical circumstances they were raised in. Some analysts believe that a generation is one of the fundamental social categories in a society.
Here’s the break-down of the main generations and their socio-cultural context.
Baby-Boomers (1946-1964) – The TV generation
In the western world, Baby-Boomers are the first generation to grow up with the television.
Born after the 2nd World War, they are the second largest generation in Western history (74.9 million of them in the 2015) after the Millennials.
In North America and Western Europe, Baby-Boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.
As a group, they were the wealthiest, and the first generation to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.
In 2004, the UK Baby-Boomers held 80% of the UK’s wealth and bought 80% of all top of the range cars, 80% of cruises and 50% of skincare products.
However, not all Boomers are made equal. Boomers are bounded into two segments:
Boomers I (1946-1955) – The Leading-Edge Boomers
Boomers I had good economic opportunities and were largely optimistic about the potential for future and their own lives. They came of age during the Vietnam War era and Civil Rights movements.
Boomers II (1956-1965) – Late Boomers
Also known as Generation Jones.
This first post-Watergate generation lost much of its trust in government and optimistic views the Boomers I maintained. Economic struggles including the oil embargo of 1979 reinforced a sense of narcissism and a focus on self-help and skepticism over media and institutions.
The youngest members of the Boomer II generation in fact did not have the benefits of the Boomer I class as many of the best jobs, opportunities, housing etc. were taken by the larger and earlier group.
Both Gen X and Boomer II suffer from this long shadow cast by Boomers I.
Events that shaped Baby-Boomers:
Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King – advocate for the African-American Civil Rights Movement
Ronald Reagan – advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth.
Walk on the moon
Generation X (1966-1979) – The MTV Generation
Often called the MTV Generation, Xers’ hatred of Boomers can be seen in music – they transformed rock n’roll from cutesy swinging to angry screaming and brought punk, metal, and grunge into the world.
They experienced the emergence of music videos, new wave music, electronic music, synth-pop, glam rock, heavy metal, punk rock, grunge and many more previously unknown music genres.
Generation X is the first generation ever known to challenge the notion that each generation will be better off than the one that preceded it.
Studies done by Pew Charitable Trusts, the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation and the Urban Institute revealed in the report “Economic Mobility: Is the American Dream Alive and Well?” that the average income for men aged 30–39 in 2004 (those born April 1964 – March 1974) was less (by 12%) than their fathers had at that same age in 1974, thus reversing a historical trend.
Generation X was the first generation to enjoy a lesser quality of life than the generation preceding it.
As individuals, Gen Xers are known for being nihilistic and cynical, and this is certainly understandable considering that they came of age just in time to experience the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, a series of economic crises, and the AIDS epidemic, just to name a few.
Sometimes referred to as the Lost Generation, Gen X was the first generation of “latchkey” kids, exposed to lots of daycare and divorce, which made them more cautious and pragmatic about planning their own families.
Events that shaped Generation X:
Generation Y aka Millennials (1980-2000) – The Internet Generation
In 2015 Millennials overtook Baby-Boomers in population. Millennials are now the largest generation in history (75.3 million) (2015).
Millennials are the affluent Baby-Boomers’ kids, which reflect their births as that of their parent generation.
They are the first generation in history that have grown up immersed in a world of digital technology.
Gen Y are known as incredibly sophisticated, technologically savvy and progressive. Here is the full list of Millennial characteristics.
Compared to Xers, Millennials led a charmed life; their parents had ready access to birth control, so they were generally wanted, nurtured children. They were more sheltered by society then their predecessors and their family units were more stable.
Gen Y is sometimes known as the Peter Pan Generation because childhood was so good to them, they have a tendency to delay adulthood.
Millennials are united by a deep-seated idealism and desire to improve the world. From climate change to global recession, a Millennial won’t blame the past, but will look forward to the solutions of the future.
Millennials believe in living life in the fast lane – risk and change becomes their middle name. Characterized by a high amount of intellectual curiosity, they love to learn and like to explore any topics of interest.
Events that shaped Millennials:
The World Wide Web opens to the public (1993)
Same Sex Marriage legislation in the US and Western Europe
The Great Recession (2007-2009)
Barack Obama elected as the first African American president of the United States (2008)
Mobile phones and text messaging becomes popular
TV talk shows and Reality shows become popular
School yard violence (Columbine, etc.)
Kyoto protocol proposed (Framework Convention on Climate Change)
Nelson Mandela elected, ending apartheid
Rise of social media (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter)
Yahoo, Ebay, Wikipedia take off
Google founded as a search engine (1998)
Generation Z (2001-2020) – The Selfie generation?
Also known as Post-Millennials, Gen Wii, iGeneration – they are cynical Gen Xs kids.
The oldest member of this generation is only 15, but media and market research companies have already labeled them as “screen addicts” who have the attention span of a gnat.
While we don’t know much about Gen Z , we know a lot about the environment they are growing up in.
Gen Z kids will grow up with a highly sophisticated media and computer environment and will be more Internet savvy than Gen Y.
Events that are shaping Gen Z:
More to come … stay tuned.