What if you’re not really a Millennial?
Our struggle with identities lives on
Nov 21, 2017
Sorry to burst your Millennial bubble but according to a study, Millennials—including Gen Xers—don’t exist. It turns out our generational identity is a lie, and we don’t really belong to a defined generation. From the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y (Millennials), and Z, the truth stops at the first one.
According to the Census Bureau, there’s only one clearly defined generation: Baby Boomers. Boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964. Their generation is distinguished by a “dramatic increase in birth rates” following World War II. They were the world’s largest generation until Millennials (it already feels wrong using the term) outnumbered them by millions.
Then again, we are basing this purely on research. In another paper written by Michael J. Ulrick from Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania, generational identity is defined as “an individual’s awareness of his or her membership in a generational group and the significance of this group to the individual.” It’s the same as our obsession with horoscopes and personality tests. Because we resonate with certain details from these tests, there’s a sense of belongingness and identity. And don’t even get us started on those clickbait articles. Exhibit A: “10 Things Only Millennials Will Understand”; “You Know You’re a Gen-Xer When…”
Because there are different generational boundaries from different sources, these descriptors or identities are a bit “arbitrary.” “A lot of times, people are frustrated. They think, ‘I’m not a Millennial! I don’t feel those same things in the way that you’re generalizing.’ That’s one of the shortcomings,” says Kim Parker, director of social trends research at Pew Research Center. Can you relate?
But hey, there’s still a chance that Millennials can become an ‘official’ generation if we reach the same standards the Baby Boomers did. Mark Mather, a demographer from the Population Reference Bureau, pointed out that Millennials are in a unique period where people are getting married much later and fertility rates are dropping. They’re not exactly positive changes but if these become long-term, the Baby Boomers will have a new cohort.
Photos courtesy of Unsplash
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