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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Bill Gates
Bill Gates: The New York Times Climate Forward Summit 2023 / Bennett Raglin/GettyImages

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

The best-defined generation is the Baby Boomer Generation, which is always understood to include those born between 1946 and 1964. This is because they are the only generation to be formally acknowledged in US Census records. These were the children born in the aftermath of World War II, where families were reunited and there was a general sense of optimism about the future.

As a general rule, the Baby Boomers have stayed in the workforce far longer than the generations before them did. While many retired in the wake of Covid-19, others simply shifted to more enjoyable fields with digital options. Whether this is due to a workaholic nature or the deterioration of retirement options, it means that there are fewer positions of authority for younger workers.

Although the Baby Boomers had been well defined historically, many scholars have argued that this period should be broken into two sections, roughly based on whether they were born before or after the Korean and Vietnam Wars. While it originally made sense to define them by their post-war birth, it is now more useful to define them by their role in modern military conflicts.

Baby Boomers I (1946-1954)

Current Age Range: 70-78

Foundational Events: Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War

Early Baby Boomers found themselves in a time of relative peace after the end of World War II, which gave them a fundamentally different perspective on the world than those who came before them. They truly believed that the world could change, a belief they were willing to fight for in the Civil Rights Movement and other major protests.

However, this generation got hit hard by the Cold War. Many were drafted into the Vietnam War, and even those who did not were living in a world of fear. This is the generation that saw the "Duck and Cover" short in their classrooms, worried that their desks wouldn't be enough to protect them from mutually assured destruction.

Looking back, the early Baby Boomers are the firmest in the belief that Communism is inherently evil, which is not surprising given that they were bombarded by anti-Communist propaganda. Their value systems often align with this propaganda, including the belief that hard work and steadfast Christian faith are the most important ways to get ahead.

While there was a lot of strife in their youth, the early Baby Boomers were born into a thriving economy, and they tend to be more financially stable than any of those that came after them. As a whole, they have more money and more property than other generations, which seems to prove their value systems right.

Public Figures in this Generation: Steven Spielberg, Donald Trump

Baby Boomers II (1955-1964)

Current Age Range: 60-69

Foundational Events: Kennedy Assassination, Moon Landing

The second half of the Baby Boomers are often the ones who get mocked by Millennials and members of Gen Z. This is because they tend to be fairly rigid and traditional, which clashes greatly with more recent generations. Baby Boomers often prioritize economic concerns over all else, both in their political and personal lives.

Late-stage Baby Boomers also tend to feel fairly self-secured, compared to other generations. Because they were born into relative stability, they were likely not drafted into any wars, which gave them the freedom to gain their education and start building strong careers.

This is also likely to be the group that feels the pop culture of their youth and early adulthood was the best of all time. They grew up during the rise of television, which fundamentally changed the entertainment industry. From classic rock to 80s nostalgia, they want to rebuild the culture of their youth in the modern day.

This group became adults in the 70s and 80s, when they were able to enjoy their youth and pass fairly comfortably into adulthood. However, they are often resistant to change, believing that the way the world worked for them growing up is still true. This can be a hard lesson to unlearn when they or their children fall on hard times.

Public Figures in this Generation: Princess Diana, Lindsey Graham, Bill Gates