Everyone has heard of the “Baby boom” generation, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964. The grouping was arbitrarily drawn by measuring the birth rate when it shot up in 1946, and then concluding it ended when it hit the same level in 1964.
This grouping is bogus, however. The purpose of creating a group label is identify common characteristics – mostly for marketing purposes. However, there is little in common with those born early in this period and those born late.
Not surprisingly, there is another characterization based on common characteristics – and it inserts a new generation label between the “Baby boom” and “Generation X” and calls it “Generation Jones”. The name comes from the tail end of the “baby boom” trying hard to keep up with those who came before, hence “keeping up with the Joneses”.
Researchers point out that those born earlier in the “baby boom” have distinct memories of such things as the first satellites launch into space, the first human launched in to space, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and RFK. Those born at the end of the so-called “Baby boom” remember none of these issutes.
This “big issues” occurred at a point in our child and youth development where they created not only memories, but ways of viewing the world around us. Those born at the beginning of the Baby Boom had very different lives than those born at the end. A side effect is that those born at the end are still called Baby Boomers yet have far more in common with the following generation than “their” generation.
It is easy to see how someone came up with the 20-year Baby Boom generation concept based solely on birth data – but it fails to capture any semblance of commonality between early and later members of the group.
I was glad to learn about this – I fall in to the very tail end of the Baby Boom and never felt connected at those who are 10-20 years older than me, and whose lives and careers grew forward a very different world than mine.