Generation Years Chart: 19th to 21st Century Generations (2022)

The generation years chart and timeline describe the 20th and 21st-century generations, based on birth years and demographic profiles. The timeline begins with the Greatest Generation in the 20th century, and ends with Generation Alpha in the 21st century.

The generations are categorized in collective birth-years that range between 13 and 23 years. To illustrate, the age bracket for the Greatest Generation spans 23 years (1901 to 1924), and 15 years for Generation Alpha (2010 and 2024).

Whileageis an important yardstick in classifying these demographic cohorts, additional factors explain the similarities and differences in their behavior and attitude towards life.

In particular, the cohorts share unique characteristics and experiences inparenting, cultural trends, religious beliefs, political viewpoints, and social/economic well-being.

These ideals and values are shaped byexisting trends in politics, the economy, wars, globalization,andadvancements in technology. Technology only became a reference factor starting with the Millennial generation.

The United States, Western Europe, and the rest of the developed world have documenteddemographic cohortsfor many decades. The developing world only began collecting its data following the reach of technology and globalization.

Article contents

Generation Years Chart

The following chart shows the generation names and corresponding birth years.:

Generation Years Chart: 19th to 21st Century Generations (1)

Generations Years Timeline

This section describes the 7 generation cohorts, their birth years, and characteristics:

NOTE:

Note that the age brackets mentioned below may not necessarily have universal cut-off dates. Different countries and sources will quote varying generational timelines for scholarly and other reasons. The differences are however not big enough to alter the structure of the cohorts.

Also true, the characteristics of the cohorts are not entirely universal. This is explained through unique traits and values in select families and communities that may overlap for generations. Still, many things change from generation to generation, and they form the basis of this article.

1. The Greatest Generation: (1901 – 1924)

The Greatest Generation, also known as theG.I. Generation, theWWII Generation, and theFederation Generation in Australia, is the first cohort in our list, born between 1901 and 1924.

This generation was consideredGREAT because it showed remarkable determination and resilience during WW1, WW2, and the Great Depression.

The men and women of this generation had the passion and willingness to fight for their country during the wars, because they believed it was theright thing to do. They also believed in themselves and stayed calm during the tough years of the depression.

The iconic journalist, Tom Brokaw, coined the namefor this cohort, a title that became popular after he published a book he named The Greatest Generation.

In the book, he credits the cohort for staying vigilant at a time when the world was going crazy and facing extreme challenges. By all means, the men and women at the time gave true meaning tothe words courage, sacrifice,andhonor.

Out of the many, he lauded individuals such asCharles Van Gorder(a medical doctor),Senator Daniel Inouye,Martha Settle Putney(a black member of Women’s Army Corps –WAC), and George H. W. Bush (pilot), as part of the many people who served their country with honor and courage.

(Video) Generation Comparison (1901-2024)

Tom Brokaw lauded the following traits in the cohort:

  • Integrity
  • Humility
  • Work ethics
  • Financial ethics
  • A big sense of responsibility

Ronald Reagan (1911), John F Kennedy (1917), and Jimmy Carter (1924) are three other famous American personalities born during the Greatest Generation years.

2. The Silent Generation: (1925 – 1945)

The Silent Generation – also called the Traditionalists – was a cohort born between 1925 and 1945, just after WWI and during WWII and the Great Depression. The age bracket for this generation spanned 20 years.

The men and women of the Silent Generation said very little and worked hard to get by. This probably contributed to their civic approach to work & lifestyle.

A lot of things about this generation was attributed to the challenges and economic fragility created by the two world wars, and the firm parenting style they went through.

The name ‘Silent Generation‘ was coined by Time Magazine in a 1951 article titled The Younger Generation. Time slammed this group for lacking ambition and drive.

It was branded unimaginative, cautious, and withdrawn – perhaps a little too harsh. The Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1939, and the Dust Bowl, which devastated farmlands in the 30s, perhaps contributed to their conditions.

In scathing words, the article notes,

The most startling fact about the younger generation is its silence. With some rare exceptions, youth is nowhere near the rostrum. By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers & mothers, today’s younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestoes, make speeches or carry posters.

People: THE YOUNGER GENERATION

To be fair to the Silent Generation, it was caught between two influential generations: the Greatest and the Baby Boomer generations, and raised during periods of economic madness!

Having grown up as children of fighters (Greatest Generation) during the world wars, they were nurtured to be seen rather than heard as the wars raged on.

The Baby Boomer generation, which succeeded them, lived through a fairy tale lifestyle because of their hard work.

To top it all, the Boomers took over the world as the Silent Generation looked on.

In the US alone, the Silent Generation has had to witness the Boomers monopolize the presidency for decades. While they have only one to their name – Joe Bidden, Boomer presidents include George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

General traits of the Silent Generation:

  • Loyal
  • Determined
  • Respectful
  • Thrifty

Warren Buffet (1930), Joe Bidden (1942), Malcolm X (1925), Marilyn Monroe (1926), Harry Belafonte (1927), and Mohammed Ali (1941), are some famous American personalities born during these generation years. These lived to show the world they were not necessarily silent!

3. The Baby Boomer Generation: (1946 – 1964)

The Baby Boomer birth years lasted between 1946 and 1964, spanning an age bracket of 18 years. They were born at a time when WWII had just ended, and there was a feeling of hope in the US, in particular.

Coupled with the hard work put in by the two previous generations, Boomers had enough time to figure out their future.

The post-war years allowed them to do what others had always failed to do. They saw a future of prosperity, which also encouraged new Boomer couples to give birth to many children.

The boom lasted approximately 20 years.

(Video) Generations X, Y, and Z: Which One Are You?

The bumper birth rate created a new era of consumerism that helped drive the US economy and created a new breed of rich and mindless individuals.

According to Forbes, the Baby Boomer cohort

became especially well-known for its cultivation of self and its carelessness about material wealth.

The Boom Generation

The name Baby Boomer became popular in 1977, thanks to a Washington Post publication about the future of the world economy.

The phrase was used in reference to the boom in childbirth following the return of American fighters from war, and eclipsed other names such as Rock and Roll Generation and Generation Jones.

The Baby Boomer phrase became widely accepted around the world to denote varying opinions and emotions:

  • The Chinese through Chairman Mao Zedong used it in the 1960s to encourage conception.
  • The Germans used ‘babyboomers’ to refer to the upsurge of babies in the 1960s.
  • The Dutch used ‘de baby boomers’ to point out the beneficiaries of wealth through the 1960s.
  • The French used ‘les baby-boomers’ to refer to a student generation that rioted in 1968.
  • The Italians view the birth years of the 1960s as byproducts of the economic boom at the time.

A few strong characteristics of Baby Boomers:

  • Ambitious, goal-oriented, and competitive
  • Focused and believe in more hours at work
  • Some times careless about wealth
  • Resourceful and team players
  • Bureaucratic

Other notable events during the Baby Boomer years:

  • Apart from bumper births, other notable events during these years included the Vietnam War and the enaction of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
  • In the US alone, African-Americans make up 10 percent and Hispanics 8 percent of this demographic group. Baby Boomers will account for 20 percent of the American population as they age.

Popular personalities in these generation years are George W Bush (1946), Steve Jobs (1955), Tony Blair (1953), Princess Diana (1961), Jeff Bezos (1964), Nicholas Cage (1964), Johnny Depp (63), Bill Clinton (1946), Barack Obama (1961), Donald Trump (1946), Bill Gates (1955) and George Clooney (1961).

4. Generation X: (1965 – 1979)

The age range for Generation X lasted only 14 years, stretching between 1965 and 1979.

Also called Baby Buster or Gen X, the cohort reversed the baby boom trend by registering low birth rates!

Similar to the Silent Generation, Gen X is unfortunate to be sandwiched between two popular generations: Baby Boomers and Millennials.

The photographer Robert Capa came up with its name, which was then used to mean ‘unknown’.

The X generation desired, and even today prefers not to be defined in any manner. This name was made popular by Douglas Coupland, in his 1991 book‘Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture’, to tell a story of a group of young men (Gen X) living in their own lost world.

Gen X is also defined by its love for music and art, and actually pioneered pop culture as we know it today. Xers grew up watching lots of TV soaps, and for this, have fond memories of ‘Friends‘ and other popular TV series.

The generation also groomed an increase of single-parents and continues to record higher divorce rates than other generations, right into the 21st Century.

They are independent-minded, educated, informal, casual, entrepreneurial, and are passing on the same traits to their children, – the Z cohort.

X is also known as the last generation to hold dear to its culture and education, and is the last to understand a different cultural world before technology became the norm.

According to Vanity Fair,

Generation X, the last Americans schooled in the old manner, the last Americans that know how to fold a newspaper, take a joke, and listen to a dirty story without losing their minds.

Following the innovation and distribution of the first lots of microcomputers in the 80s and 90s, Generation X somehow became one of the first to interact with technology.

(Video) History & Generations of Computers

Finally, Gen Xers, who are well into their 40s and 50s and defined by many cultural identities, such as Parental Advisory, is also touted as the last chance society has to preserve traditional values that are fast becoming extinct.

General characteristics of the Xers:

  • Work hard
  • Believe in work-life balance
  • Independent-minded
  • Flexible and direct
  • Self-reliant
  • Thinkers and embrace feedback
  • In debt
  • Cynical?

Famous personalities from these generation years: Jay Z (1969), Tiger Woods (1975), Halle Berry (1966), Julia Roberts (1967), Celine Dione (1968), and Will Smith (1968).

5. Generation Y: (1980 – 1994)

Also called Millennials, the Generation Y cohort was born between 1980 and 1994, stretching for 15 years. The Millennial cohort was born at a time when technology was taking true shape, majorly for productivity.

The use of the internet helped them consolidate their grip on technology, and embrace the wide-ranging possibilities in the 21st Century.

Most Millennial childres were parented by the Baby Boom generation and were named so because they bore the responsibility and opportunity to fully harness the experiences of technology, at the start of the new millennium.

Technology remains critical for driving productivity and has become the tool of choice even at home.

This correlation with the initial years of digital evolution explains why Millennials use technology to extend their reach and venture into global markets. They have used these to drive and shape economies around the world.

Millennials have grown up in a time of rapid change, giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations.

Who are they?

A large chunk of millennial parents are also renowned for championing a new age of parenting, unlike the Boomers and Xers. Apart from being ethnically and racially diverse, they are more likely to entertain their children to don wearable gadgets and try out different AI innovations.

In a 2018 survey carried out byGo Daddy, 48% of millennial parents deemed it fine for their Alpha children to have an online experience, compared to only 27% of Gen Xers.

The general traits of Millennials:

  • Socially driven
  • Ethically diverse
  • Tech-driven and curious
  • Educated and multi-career based
  • Financially conscious and therefore stable
  • Poor at interpersonal skills
  • Less religious

Popular figures from this era: Mark Zuckerberg (1984), Taylor Swift (1989), Christina Aguilera (1980), Nicki Minaj (1982), Rihanna (1988), and Beyoncé (1981).

6. Generation Z: (1995 – 2009)

The Generation Z birth years lasted only 13 years, stretching from1996 to 2009. The Zs are also known as the children of Generation X.

As of 2024, when the last Alpha will be born, they will total close to 27 percent of the workforce, according to McCrindle.

The Z or iGen, just like the previous generation Y, has immersed itself deep in the world of the internet and technology.Unlike their predecessors, they exhibit a sense of euphoria and hope to avoid past mistakes by earlier generations.

They also approach fancy lifestyles rather passively in comparison to Millennials. For example, they learn to drive late and become sexually active much later in life. They also indulge in alcoholic beverages a little later than the previous generations.

Instead, they spend most of the time planning for their future amidst the tight work conditions around the world.

The huge amount of information they are exposed to has also affected their concentration. Hence, they are always multi-tasking and have developed short attention spans.

They may seem not to have time for serious stuff at school and at work, but experts predict they will be more goal-oriented and pragmatic.

(Video) Which GENERATION stereotype are you?

These traits have led experts to somehow liken them to the Silent generation of the 1920s to 1940s.

Characteristics of Z:

  • Tech-savvy and ‘always on
  • Poor at interpersonal skills
  • Reduced attention span
  • Indoor generation
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Set for online social interactions
  • Less religious
  • Personalized learning

Popular iGens: Baby Ariel (2000), Zendaya (1996), and Baby Kaely (2004).

7. Generation Alpha: (2010 – 2024)

Generation Alpha is the latest in the chart of generation cohorts, and one that best suits the digital native description.

The Alpha cohort brings together people born between 2010 and 2024, adding up to a total of 15 years. The cohort replaced Generation Z whose birth years fell between 1996 and 2009.

It is estimated that 2 million Alpha kids are delivered weekly in health facilities around the world, and their numbers will reach a whopping 2 billion as of 2024.

As of 2022, the eldest Alpha child is 12 years old.

The first Alpha kids were born in 2010, the same year the first iPad was released. The iPad kicked started a tablet war between manufacturers, which helped catapult tablets into the Alpha life.

These are popular tools for collaborative learning, and have shaped both Alpha and Gen Z lives. But maybe not for so long!

Alphas will probably be the most transformative generation yet, at least until the Beta generation arrives. Alphas are born in a world saturated with gadgets and are experiencing the implementation of new technology innovations as years go by.

As much as they are deeply immersed in touchscreens their interaction with technology and the bigger picture of life is changing and will evolve drastically in the next decades.

The rapid advancements in artificial intelligence mean that interaction with the digital ecosystem will have to be responsive enough to suit their imagination.

Teen and adult Alphas will probably never use apps and cell phones the way they are used today. With the onset of the Metaverse, they will likely spend a lot of time exploring the virtual world and spaces.

They will bury themselves in games, go shopping, travel the world, chat with friends while hidden behind virtual reality (VR) headsets and glasses.

The first movers of the Metaverse just might be Generation Alpha – the most technologically integrated generation of our lifetime.

Mccrindle

Lastly, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 impacted Alpha childhood development in many ways.

They spent more time at home, missed out on school, and had their social lives impacted due to social distancing.

On a positive note, their diet, hygiene and overall health got better, because they were made to eat nutritious meals, keep clean, and of course sleep more.

General traits of Generation Alpha:

  • Tech-savvy and ‘always on
  • Will need 21st century skills in the classroom
  • Will readily embrace metaverse devices such as VR and AR
  • Poor at interpersonal skills
  • Will probably have reduced attention span
  • Less religious
  • Ethnically diverse & aware
  • Largely an indoor generation

FAQs

What are the generations for the 21st century? ›

Named after the first letter in the Greek alphabet, Generation Alpha is the first to be born entirely in the 21st century. Most members of Generation Alpha are the children of Millennials. Generation Alpha has been born at a time of falling fertility rates across much of the world.

What are the 7 living generations? ›

Who do you think you are? Seven generations to choose from
  • The Greatest Generation (born 1901–1927)
  • The Silent Generation (born 1928–1945)
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964)
  • Generation X (born 1965–1980)
  • Millennials (born 1981–1995)
  • Generation Z (born 1996–2010)
  • Generation Alpha (born 2011–2025)
9 Aug 2018

How do I determine my generation? ›

What are the generational demographics?
  1. The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945.
  2. Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964.
  3. Generation X: Born 1965-1980.
  4. Millennials: Born 1981-1996.
  5. Generation Z: Born 1997-2012.
25 Jun 2021

What are the 6 generations table? ›

Generation Names and Dates
  • The Greatest Generation (GI Generation): Born 1901–1924.
  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928–1945.
  • Baby Boom Generation: Born 1946–1964.
  • Generation X: Born 1965–1980.
  • Millennial Generation or Generation Y: Born 1981–1996.
  • Generation Z or iGen: Born 1997–2010.
28 Jun 2022

What's this generation called 2022? ›

Generation Alpha are defined as those born from 2010-2024. More than 2.5 million are born globally every week.

What are the generations called? ›

Generations defined by name, birth year, and ages in 2022
BornAges
Gen Z1997 – 201210 – 25
Millennials1981 – 199626 – 41
Gen X1965 – 198042 – 57
Boomers II*1955 – 196458 – 67
3 more rows
20 Apr 2022

Why is it called the Greatest Generation? ›

The Greatest Generation is a term used to describe those Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, or whose labor helped win it. The term "the Greatest Generation" is thought to have been coined by former NBC Nightly News anchor and author Tom Brokaw in his book by the same name.

What is the latest generation? ›

Generation Z, is the youngest, most ethnically-diverse, and largest generation in American history, comprising 27% of the US population. Pew Research recently defined Gen Z as anyone born after 1996.

How long is a generation? ›

It can also be described as, "the average period, generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children." In kinship terminology, it is a structural term designating the parent-child relationship.

How many generation are there? ›

Currently, five generations make up our society.

How do you know what generation you are in your family? ›

  1. Generation X. Born: 1965-1976 (or 1979 according to some sources). Coming of Age: 1988-1994. ...
  2. Generation Y or Millennials. Born: 1977-1997. Coming of Age: 1998-2006. ...
  3. Generation Z. Born: After 1998. Coming of Age: 2013-2020 Current. ...
  4. ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
7 Aug 2017

What is the next generation called? ›

Those born globally from 2010-2024 we have labelled as Generation Alpha. If we look at Strauss and Howe's generational theory, the next generation is predicted to spend its childhood during a high.

What are the 4 types of generations? ›

Currently, within the working population, there are four groupings: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y or Millennials, and Generation Z or Centennials.

Why are the generations named? ›

A “generation” is defined as a group of people born in the same time period, and generation names exemplify our human tendency to categorize ourselves. Over time, sociologists and generation researchers usually deem titles for the different age groups based on historical social trends.

What age groups are generations? ›

Baby Boomer Generation: people aged 56 to 75 (born between 1946 and 1965) Generation X: people aged 41 to 55 (born between 1966 and 1980) Generation Y (millennials): people aged 25 to 40 (born between 1981 and 1996) Generation Z: people aged 9 to 24 (born between 1997 and 2012)

Why are they called the silent generation? ›

Traditionalists are known as the "silent generation" because children of this era were expected to be seen and not heard. They're those who were born between 1927 and 1946, and they average in age from 75 to 80 years old in 2018.

What does Gen Z stand for? ›

Generation Z (Gen Z) refers to the generation of Americans born from 1997 to 2012. The oldest members of Gen Z are starting their post-education years, with new careers and, possibly, families; the youngest are 10.

Why is Gen Z called Gen Z? ›

Gen Z refers to people born between 1995 and 2010. The 'Z' in the name means "zoomer", as this is the first generation known to 'zoom' the internet. Most of those who are a part of Gen Z are the children of Generation X.

How do generations work? ›

A generation typically refers to groups of people born over a 15-20 year span, such as the Millennial generation, currently the youngest adult generation. Generational analysis is an important tool used by Pew Research Center and other researchers.

When did generations start being named? ›

Historians generally agree that generational naming began in the 20th century. It was deceased American writer Gertrude Stein who coined the term "Lost Generation" in her work. She bestowed this title on those born around the turn of the 20th century who devoted their lives to service during World War I.

What are kids born in 2000 called? ›

Generation Z came before Generation Alpha. Members of Generation Z were born between 1997 to 2012 according to the Pew Research Center. Generation Z follows members of Generation Y, more commonly known as millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996.

Why are they called the Silent Generation? ›

Traditionalists are known as the "silent generation" because children of this era were expected to be seen and not heard. They're those who were born between 1927 and 1946, and they average in age from 75 to 80 years old in 2018.

What is the 20th century generation called? ›

The generation years chart and timeline describe the 20th and 21st-century generations, based on birth years and demographic profiles. The timeline begins with the Greatest Generation in the 20th century, and ends with Generation Alpha in the 21st century.

Are you a Millennial or Gen Z? ›

A Millennial is anyone born between 1980 and 1995. In the U.S., there are roughly 80 million Millennials. A member of Gen Z is anyone born between 1996 and the early-mid 2000s (end date can vary depending on source). In the U.S., there are approximately 90 million members of Gen Z, or “Gen Zers.”

Is 21st century is a Gen Z? ›

Marketers and generational professionals have turned their attention to Generation Z (1996-2009)—the oldest of whom will turn 19 this year—to gain a better understanding of what will define and drive this next generation of workers and consumers.

When was the Greatest Generation born? ›

The Greatest Generation (or GI Generation)

Born in 1924 or earlier. Tom Brokaw coined the term the Greatest Generation as a tribute to Americans who lived through the Great Depression and then fought in WWII. His 1998 bestselling book, “The Greatest Generation,” popularized the term.

What made the Greatest Generation so great? ›

The combination of living during the Great Depression and experiencing war-time rationing means many in this generation are well-versed in frugal living. They learned to make due. They also learned creativity in the face of scarcity.

What is the latest generation? ›

Generation Z, is the youngest, most ethnically-diverse, and largest generation in American history, comprising 27% of the US population. Pew Research recently defined Gen Z as anyone born after 1996.

What are the generation names and years? ›

Generation Names
  • The Greatest Generation – born 1901-1924. ...
  • The Silent Generation – born 1925-1945. ...
  • The Baby Boomer Generation – born 1946-1964. ...
  • Generation X – born 1965-1979. ...
  • Millennials – born 1980-1994. ...
  • Generation Z – born 1995-2012. ...
  • Gen Alpha – born 2013 – 2025.

How many generation are there? ›

Currently, five generations make up our society.

What is the next generation called? ›

Those born globally from 2010-2024 we have labelled as Generation Alpha. If we look at Strauss and Howe's generational theory, the next generation is predicted to spend its childhood during a high.

What makes Gen Z different? ›

Generation Z – also known as Gen Z, iGen or postmillennial – are a highly collaborative cohort that cares deeply about others and have a pragmatic attitude about how to address a set of inherited issues like climate change, according to research by Roberta Katz, a senior research scholar at Stanford's Center for ...

How many years is a generation? ›

It can also be described as, "the average period, generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children." In kinship terminology, it is a structural term designating the parent-child relationship.

What does Gen Z stand for? ›

Generation Z (Gen Z) refers to the generation of Americans born from 1997 to 2012. The oldest members of Gen Z are starting their post-education years, with new careers and, possibly, families; the youngest are 10.

What is Gen Y meaning? ›

Generation Y, also known as Gen Y or millennials, is the generational cohort born between 1981 and 1996. They come after Generation X and before Generation Z, which is the reason they are named Gen Y. For more information, please see our definition of “millennials”.

What are the characteristics of the 21st century learners? ›

Characteristics of a 21st Century Learner
  • Creativity and Innovation. “Creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” – ...
  • Collaboration and Communication. ...
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving. ...
  • Global Citizens. ...
  • Technology Literacy. ...
  • Lifelong Learners.

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