Friday, February 10, 2017

Generation Y or Z

About a year ago, I did a post about the differences between late Gen. Xers (me) and early Millennials.  The consensus among most demographers is that the cutoff is either 1981 or 1982.  I'd personally set the exact cutoff midway through 1982 between the Class of 2000 and the Class of 2001.  There is a gray area from roughly '79-'83 in which I would not dispute whatever you claim to be.  For reasons I have discussed in the previous post, I was born in '80 and graduated HS in 1999 and consider myself Gen. X all the way.  Those born in '85 or later had clearly different life experiences than I and certainly cannot be classified in the same group as those born in the late '60s or early '70s.

Now where does the Millennial generation end and Gen. Z begin?
I believe that as with X-Y, there will be a gray area in the middle, probably between 1997 and 2001.  I initially said the Millennials end in 2000 but in light of recent events, I'd move it up to 1999.  2006 saw the erosion of support for Bush 43's neo-conservatism and the beginning of YouTube and Facebook.  If you are old enough to remember before then, I'd say you are a Millennial.  If not, I'd put you in Gen. Z, which may be re-named later.

Let's look at potentially different life experiences starting with a middle Millennial born in 1990:
-No memory of life without the Internet and Windows 95 came out in kindergarten.
-Old enough to remember the Dial Up era and life without Smart phones.
-Access to Facebook and YouTube as teenagers.
-Remember Clinton's impeachment and the election of Bush-43 with some clarity.
-11 years old (5th-6th grade) on 9/11 and 13 at the start of the Iraq war.
-Came of age during the Great Recession and election of Barack Obama. Tend to be liberal.

How about a Later Millennial born in 1995: Minor differences but clearly same generation.
-Not even alive before Internet became widely available and no memory of Dial Ups.
-Old enough to remember life without Smart phones but had access as teenagers.
-About 10 years old when Facebook and YouTube became popular.
-No memory of the Clinton administration or the 2000 election
-Barely old enough to remember 9/11 but had no idea of its impact at the time.
-13 years old with only a modicum of political knowledge at the time of Obama's election but came of age during his second term.  Likely liberal but maybe not as much as the previous group.

Gray area and cutoff point- 1997-2001:  Why I set the cutoff at '98 or '99.
-Digital Natives and completely at ease with technology
-Little-No memory of life without Smart Phones if born after 1999
-Facebook and YouTube have been around as long as they can remember if born after 1999.
-Not old enough to remember 9/11 but if born before 1999, may have faint memories of the 2004 election and Bush-43's policies having some popular appeal.
-Between 7-11 years old at the time of the Great Recession and Obama's election so old enough to remember but not old enough to understand it.
Those born in 1999 will turn 18 and enter college during a Trump administration.
-Early surveys show a conservative resurgence among early Gen. Z though that could change down the road.  I recently saw an interesting video that suggested that conservatism was now the counter-culture and thus more attractive in light of excessive political correctness.

Born after 2001:  Most definitely NOT Millennial.
-Not even alive on 9/11
-Little-no memory of Bush-43
-15 or younger when Trump was elected.
-No memory of life without Smart Phones or social media.

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