You will read a lot about “Generation X+” on this Blog. Why?

Generation X cannot go it alone

As I have noted elsewhere, this Blog is dedicated to encouraging civic engagement on the most pressing problems facing the U.S. as we approach the year 2040 — issues that my generation — Generation X — should care deeply about. Unfortunately, even if we voted in large numbers (which we don’t), Generation X would not have the voting power to solve these problems on our own. We are substantially outnumbered by Boomers and Millennials. So, if we want to fix the country, we will need to recruit like-minded, voting Boomers and Millennials to the cause.

We have kindred spirits among the Boomers and Millennials

All generational boundaries are imperfect and exclude people on each end who share the attributes of the target demographic. But the especially short duration of Generation X suggests that we may be missing more of our kindred spirits than other generations. Generation X has been defined by most demographers to include just 16 birth years: 1965 1980. By contrast, the Boomers have been given 19 birth years (1946-1964). And the Millennial generation spans at least 17 birth years (1981 – 1997). Thus, if we just looked at birth years, I suspect there are Boomers born in 1963-1964 and Millennials born in 1981-1982 who are actually more like Generation X than their purported generations. Indeed, in its generational studies, Pew has often found that younger Boomers and older Millennials more closely resemble Generation X than they do their assigned generations. I have chosen to adopt the term “Generation X+” to refer to those who share many of the demographic attributes normally associated with Generation X.

The members of Generation X+ have shared experiences and concerns

    • We remember a time when there were “liberal republicans” and “centrist democrats.”
    • We survived the “dotcom bubble” and “hanging chads.”
    • We vividly remember exactly where we were on the morning of September 11th.
    • We were working or wanted to work during the Great Recession.
    • We are much more concerned than our parents were about navigating an adult financial obstacle course that includes: paying off student loans; buying and keeping a home; paying for our children’s college educations; saving for our retirement; and caring for our parents as they age.

I am hoping that these shared experiences and concerns will bring us together as a generation and propel us to trade action for apathy. The future of our country may depend on us doing so.

Editor’s Note:  Although I would like to take credit for the first use of the term “Generation X+,” I cannot. In doing research for this Blog, I found a 2011 blog post entitled “Talkin’ ‘bout my Generation” by Shoshana Greenberg. In her post, Ms. Greenberg argues, correctly in my view, that the oldest Millennials are actually far more similar to Generation X than they are to younger Millennials, and she therefore includes these older Millennials in “Generation X+.”