Generation X


Generation X –
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Generation X

Generation X (or Gen X for short) is the Western demographic cohort following the baby boomers and preceding the millennials. Researchers and popular media use the mid-to-late 1960s as starting birth years and the late 1970s to early 1980s as ending birth years, with the generation being generally defined as people born from 1965 to 1980.

generation x

By this definition and U.S. Census data, there are 65.2 million Gen Xers in the United States as of 2019. Most members of Generation X are the children of the Silent Generation and early boomers; Xers are also often the parents of millennials and Generation Z.

As children in the 1970s and 1980s, a time of shifting societal values, Gen Xers were sometimes called the “latchkey generation,” which stems from their returning as children to an empty home and needing to use the door key, due to reduced adult supervision compared to previous generations. This was a result of increasing divorce rates and increased maternal participation in the workforce prior to widespread availability of childcare options outside the home.

As adolescents and young adults in the 1980s and 1990s, Xers were dubbed the “MTV Generation” (a reference to the music video channel), sometimes being characterized as slackers, cynical, and disaffected. Some of the many cultural influences on Gen X youth included a proliferation of musical genres with strong social-tribal identity such as punk, post-punk, and heavy metal, in addition to later forms developed by Gen Xers themselves (e.g., grunge, grindcore and related genres). Film, both the birth of franchise mega-sequels and a proliferation of independent film (enabled in part by video) was also a notable cultural influence. Video games both in amusement parlours and in devices in western homes were also a major part of juvenile entertainment for the first time. Politically, in many Eastern Bloc countries, Generation X experienced the last days of communism and transition to capitalism as part of its youth. In much of the western world, a similar time period was defined by a dominance of conservatism and free market economics.

In midlife during the early 21st century, research describes them as active, happy, and achieving a work–life balance. The cohort has also been credited as entrepreneurial and productive in the workplace more broadly.

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Last updated 12/25/2022

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