Jean M. TwengeAug 20, 2023
The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America's Future
The United States is currently home to six generations of people:
-the Silents, born 1925-1945
-Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964
-Gen X, born 1965-1979
-Millennials, born 1980-1994
-Gen Z, born 1995-2012
-and the still-to-be-named cohorts born after 2012.
They have had vastly different life experiences and thus, one assumes, they must have vastly diverging beliefs and behaviors. But what are those differences, what causes them, and how deep do they actually run?
Professor of psychology and "reigning expert on generational change" (Lisa Wade, PhD, author of American Hookup), Jean Twenge does a deep dive into a treasure trove of long-running, government-funded surveys and databases to answer these questions. Are we truly defined by major historical events, such as the Great Depression for the Silents and September 11 for Millennials? Or, as Twenge argues, is it the rapid evolution of technology that differentiates the generations?
With her clear-eyed and insightful voice, Twenge explores what the Silents and Boomers want out of the rest of their lives; how Gen X-ers are facing middle age; the ideals of Millennials as parents and in the workplace; and how Gen Z has been changed by COVID, among other fascinating topics.
Surprising, engaging, and informative, Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America's Future (Atria, 2023) will forever change the way you view your parents, peers, coworkers, and children, no matter which generation you call your own.
Joe Tasca is a host and a reporter for the NPR affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island.