It’s a mystery to most folks as to who comes up with the names for the generations. Somewhere along the way people began to refer to specific generations by characteristics of the timing of their entry into this world.
This demographic label was coined by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. Here are their generations:
Awakening 1701-1723 Liberty 1724-1741 Republican 1742-1766 Compromise 1767-1791 Transcendental 1792-1821 Gilded 1822-1842 Progressive 1843-1859 Missionary 1860-1882 Lost 1883-1900 G.I. 1901-1924 Silent 1925-1942 Boom 1943-1960 Thirteenth 1961-1981 Millennial 1982- *
I suspect that there are people in each of these named generations who would disagree with the nomenclature assigned to them. I, for one, am not sure that “my” generation was particularly “silent.” But I guess it’s all relative
But this one upon which we are focusing , The 13th Generation, is fascinating for more than the clever name. There is an historical feature to be factored in. This group of now Middle Aged men and women were born between 1961 and 1981. That means that they are the 13th Generation to be born in the United States since the founding of the nation.
In taking a closer look at this generation, they are young people who were born into an already-vibrant technological revolution taking place in this country. They inherited the computer and all that goes with it. It is a generation more acclimated to global experience, and the reality of a nuclear age is no longer a paranoid belief…it is a reality. In this country the 13th Generation tends to take wealth and success for granted, as opposed to their children, the Millennials, who will probably earn less than their parents over their lifetime if all continues as it is now.
Another designation for The 13th Generation is Generation Y, picking up on the letter designations which seemed to begin with Generation X.
Generation Y is thought to be more family-oriented and willing to sacrifice career advancement for a better work/life balance. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t achievement-oriented. Generation Y can be confident and ambitious. They are not afraid to question authority, are constantly seeking out new challenges and want meaningful work.
Generation Y people typically want to be part of a team, but at the same time they desire to be in the spotlight. While they value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others, they also crave attention, feedback and guidance. Overall, they are loyally committed and want to be included and involved.
Several other characteristics have been found over the years. According to a 2013 poll in the United Kingdom, Generation Y was found to be more open-minded than their parents to controversial topics. It’s also significantly more likely that Generation Y people don’t practice any organized religion than older generations and tend to distrust religious institutions.” **
The danger involved in being absorbed by these designations is that they are generalizations. There are, obviously, exceptions…sometimes in great number…to the characteristics generally accepted to be symbolic of the era. But they are helpful in just illustrating the mores of the eras.
I find it interesting to be aware of the fact that there have been 13 (now 14) generations born in this country. We’ve come a long way, baby. But we still haven’t exactly “perfected” the dream of those who were the founders. It’s in committee.
Photo Credit: menstuff.org