What generation am I? A breakdown of each generation

Patriotic Union Jack Flags on Napkins in the UK
Patriotic Union Jack Flags on Napkins in the UK / Tim Graham/GettyImages
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Commemorations of the 79th Anniversary of D-Day
Commemorations of the 79th Anniversary of D-Day / Anadolu/GettyImages

The Builders (1900-1945)

Before the start of the Baby Boomers, generational breakdowns can be a bit tricky to define. While some people simply view it all as one period, many break it down based on the groups' connection with World War I and World War II. Those who group it all together may use one of many names to define the group.

The consensus is that people from this period were the ones who built modern America. If Millennials and Gen Z are viewed as lazy, it is often in direct contrast to this group. Given that the oldest people living around the world were born between 1907 and 1910, this is now a relatively small group with minimal impact on the workforce. However, they have a significant impact on historical and social understandings.

The Greatest Generation (1901-1924/1927)

Current Age Range: 97-123

Foundational Events: The Great Depression, World War II

Who hasn't heard of the so-called "Greatest Generation"? These are generally the men and women who were adults when the World Wars began. They are the men who went to war and the women who started working in factories to keep the country going.

This group is known for their hard work and self-discipline, which was necessary to survive the chaotic early half of the 20th century. However, this can come at a cost. While they are typically held up as role models, they often struggle to share their emotions and experiences, as this kind of openness was not prioritized when they were younger.

Many members of the Greatest Generation are happy that their descendants don't have to live through the hardships that they did. While they might complain that people these days have it too easy, that was precisely what they were fighting for.

According to the National World War 2 Museum, only around 119 thousand of the Americans who served in World War II are still alive. The majority of these live in either Florida or Pennsylvania, which are the only states likely to have much of an impact politically from the Greatest Generation.

Public Figures in this Generation: John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter

The Silent Generation (1925/1928-1945)

Current Age Range: 79-99

Foundational Events: Korean War, Vietnam War

This grouping has also been called the "Post War Generation" and "The Traditionalists," and they are notable for being born too late to serve in the World Wars. While some surely did, often by lying about their age, the group as a whole managed to largely avoid serving in the major wars of the 20th century.

This generation was split into two key groups. The ones who gave the generation its name tended to avoid social movements, focusing on embracing traditional values. This grouping was vehemently anti-Communist and fought for the embrace of Christianity as a mainstream ideal in US culture.

The other side of this generation, however, thrived on conflict. These were the ones who built counterculture movements and fought for Civil Rights in the 1960s. They felt that it was vital for the country to move forward, not backward, when it came to social values.

Because of this divide, it's hard to fully capture the beliefs of the Silent Generation. They can be widely divergent in their belief systems, so it's important to pay attention to their actions, not just their age. In 2019, there were still 23 million members of the Silent Generation still alive in the United States.

Public Figures in this Generation: Martin Luther King Jr., Joe Biden