the generation following the post–World War II baby boom,
especially people born in the United States and Canada from the
early 1960s to the late 1970s.
X, a novel by Douglas Coupland (born 1961), Canadian writer.
to individuals roughly between the age of 25 and 34. "Generation
Y" pertains to ages 18 to 24, and "baby boomers"
are people 35 to 54. By the time older gen-Xers became teenagers,
the personal computer revolution had begun. Younger gen-Xers and
all generation Ys were brought up in the thick of it. In contrast,
older baby boomers were certainly raised without desktop computers,
but many did not even have TVs as children.
X is a term used in demographics, the social sciences, and more
broadly in popular culture. It generally consists of persons born
in the 1960s and 1970s, although the exact dates of birth defining
this age demographic are highly debated. It has also been described
as a generation consisting of those people whose "teen years
touched the 1980s", born after baby boomers.
As a phrase,
without the current meaning, the term was coined as the title
of a 1964 novel, and was picked up as the name of a punk rock
band, featuring the young Billy Idol. It was later popularised
by Douglas Coupland in his book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
Culture, who took the X from Paul Fussell's 1983 book Class, where
the term class X designated a region of America's social heirarchy,
rather than a generation. As Coupland explained in a 1995 interview,
"In his final chapter, Fussell named an "X" category
of people who wanted to hop off the merry-go-round of status,
money, and social climbing that so often frames modern existence."
It was after the publication of Coupland's book that the term
began being used as a name for the generation by the media, who
introduced Generation X as a group of flannel-wearing, alienated,
over-educated, underachieving slackers with body piercing, who
drank Starbucks coffee and had to work at McJobs.
was traditionally begun at 1965, taking off from the birth-rate-based
Baby Boom span of 1946-1964, but since many notable people who
are normally thought of as clearly Gen-X, such as Courtney Love,
Janeane Garofalo and Eddie Vedder, were born in 1964, this year
is often cited as the preferred beginning of Generation X. In
their book Generations William Strauss and Neil Howe called this
generation the "13th Generation" because the tag, like
this generation, is a little Halloweenish, and it is the thirteenth
to know the flag of the United States (counting back to the peers
of Benjamin Franklin) and set its birth years at 1961 to 1981.
is sometimes also known as the Baby Busters, or just Busters,
although in Anthony Brancato's system this generation is divided
into two discrete groups, the Baby Busters (Courtney Love and
Kurt Cobain) and the Post-Busters (Ani DiFranco and Alanis Morissette),
with the former group's first birth year being fixed at 1958,
instead of 1961 (this system also observes 1980 and not 1981 as
the last birth year for the Post-Busters). "Baby Busters"
was, in fact, the only name to be used for this generation before
Coupland's book was published.
the generation is often known as Generation E, or simply known
as the Nineties Generation, along the lines of such other European
generation names as "Generation of 1968" and "Generation
of 1914". In France, the term Génération Bof
is in use, with "bof" being a French word for "Whatever",
the defining Gen-X saying. In Iran, they are called the Burnt
Generation. In some Latin American countries. the name "Crisis
Generation" is sometimes used due to the recurring financial
crisis in the region during those years.
parents are the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. Generation
X's typical grandparents are the G.I. Generation. Generation X's
children will be or have been born in the 1990s and the following
few decades, including Generation Y and the following generation.
Assuming generations have a 22-year average length, this means
Generation X's children will be born from 1982 to 2025. Its typical
grandchildren will be born from 2026 to about 2048.
X consists of far fewer people (19 million, U.S.) than the baby
boom generation (72 million, U.S.) and has had correspondingly
less impact on popular culture, but it came into its own during
the late 1980s and early 1990s. A fashion for grunge music exemplified
by the band Nirvana expressed the frustrations of a generation
forever doomed to live in the shadow of its elders. As is common
in generational shifts, Gen-X thinking has significant overtones
of cynicism against things held dear to the previous generation.
Others point out that grunge derived its stance and musical values
from 1970s punk and heavy metal, and thus was simply part of the
wave of 1970s nostalgia that swept college campuses in the early
suggested that Generation Xers are proud to not be from the baby
boom generation and actively rebel against the idealism the baby
boomers advocated in the 1960s. Some would also argue that it
is not merely the idealism of the 1960s that Generation Xers reject,
but a deeper cynicism of the fact that such "idealism",
inevitably doomed in its gratuitous naïveté, so quickly
gave way to an era unequivocally focused on commercial and industrial
progress; a period which incubated many of the problems facing
their, and coming, generations. They fantasize about how the 1960s
and 1970s supposedly offered Boomers easy sex without consequence
(though this was still available to the gen-xers who came of age
in the 1970s) while resenting the lasting damage done by an era
in which they now realize they were the babies adults were trying
so much not to have.
however, while Generation Xers are often considered to be non-ideological
politically, the generation has given birth to some extremely
persuasive and decidedly ideological conservative, libertarian
and liberal political thinkers and writers. Nonetheless, even
ideological Generation Xers still appear to clash as much with
prior generations and their ideologies and institutions, as they
do with each other ideologically.
born in the described time period reject the ideological labels
as not particularly useful, and point to social class, geography,
and other factors having far more influence than chronology.
X has survived a hurried childhood of divorce, latchkeys, space
shuttle explosions (primarily in the United States), open classrooms,
widespread political corruption, inflation and recession, post-Vietnam
national malaise, environmental disaster, the Islamic Revolution
(in Iran), devil-child movies, and a shift from "G"
to "R" ratings. They came of age curtailing the earlier
rise in youth crime (particularly in South America, though crime
fell in Iran) and fall in SAT test scores -- yet heard themselves
denounced as so wild and stupid as to put The Nation At Risk.
As young adults, maneuvering through a sexual barricade of AIDS
and blighted courtship rituals, they date cautiously. Divorce
rates grew, however significant alternatives to traditional marriage
(from remaining single to same-sex couples to merely "living
together") also arose. Technology-wise the 'creation' and
spreading of the internet rendered face-to-face communication
secondary, books beside the point, near-infinite knowledge on
hand 24/7 and tech-related jobs a hot commodity. In jobs, they
embrace risk and prefer free agency to loyal corporatism. Politically,
they lean toward pragmatism and nonaffiliation and libertarianism.
Sometimes criticized as "slackers", they nevertheless
were widely credited with a new growth of entrepreneurship and
the resulting dot-com boom. The 1991 end of the Cold War, of course,
was probably the most defining event of Generation Xers young