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Hype v. Facts

Don’t get me started. Gah. Erg. Blergh. Argh. Et cetera. (Ack! It looks like I got myself started!)

The “data” and dates about generations is an epic mess. But, my friends, there is a model for making sense of that mess. That model shows how (and why) generations are formed in specific patterns and manners, and it provides–I do believe–the most reliable perspective on generational dates. (See the table below.)

So, using these dates, I was finally able to track down the year-by-year population estimates from a super-helpful person at the US Census Bureau. Prior, I’d only been able to find population estimates in five-year clumps, which was requiring me to do all sorts of figuring and guesstimating. But, no more. I have the number of people alive in the U.S. by age. 

Once I had this data, I then calculated each living generation’s size, and, holy smokes! I had a sense of where this would land, but I was still blown away.

enough with the gen z thing

First off, Millennials, stop letting this faux generation of Zers steal eight of your years. Their yours. Your generation is a behemoth. You all are born 1982-2004. (Gen Z is fake news. Really. Truly.)

Xers, you’ve (we’ve) never been a small generation; you’re only a culturally “recessive” generation sandwiched between two dominant generations (Boomers and Millennials). At almost 88 million, Xers have always been significantly larger than Boomers, who topped out under 70 million at their height.

busting the boomer big-gen myth

Boomers are not a “large” generation. They were only “large” compared to the generation before them (the Silent generation, the ones born around the Great Depression through WWII, 1925-1942).

And, folks, for all the media frenzy about Zs, they aren’t the new generation in the workforce. They’re not a generation. It’s those 18 and under (in 2023, that is — those born three years prior to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and then after) who are the next generation; and we’ll be seeing/feeling them all the more as this yet-named generation moves through its coming-of-age years and, shortly, into young adulthood and into the workforce.

Does this information surprise you? Make sense?

The US Census Bureau data is in the link.

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