The Lost Generation

Born: 1883 to 1900.
Traits: This wandering cohort went off to Europe to fight in World War I.
Stereotype: Directionless.
Cultural touchstones: World War I, "The Sun Also Rises," "The Great Gatsby."

The G.I. Generation (the Greatest Generation)

Born: 1901 to 1924.
Traits: Coming of age between the Great Depression and World War II, this generation had a moral imperative to contribute to the war effort.
Stereotype: Critical.
Cultural touchstones: World War II.

The Silent Generation (the Lucky Few)

Born: 1925 to 1945.
Traits: Born during the Great Depression, this hearty generation worked hard and was rewarded with postwar prosperity.
Stereotype: Conformist.
Cultural touchstones: The Korean War, television.

Baby boomers

Born: 1946 to 1964.
Traits: Ambitious and optimistic, the socially conscious children of postwar America had access to financial security and the American dream.
Stereotype: Hippie.
Cultural touchstones: JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, Woodstock.

Generation X

Born: 1965 to 1980.
Traits: They were the first generation to live in a customizable world, letting themselves into their homes after school and watching cable TV.
Stereotype: Slacker.
Cultural touchstones: MTV, the Challenger explosion, grunge music.


Born: 1977 to 1983.
Traits: They grew up at the dawn of the digital revolution at the turn of the 21st century.
Stereotype: None yet.
Cultural touchstones: "My So-Called Life," "The Oregon Trail," the O.J. Simpson trial.

Millennials (Generation Y)

Born: 1981 to 1995.
Traits: Change-friendly and tech-savvy, they want their work to mean something — if they can find a job.
Stereotype: Entitled.
Cultural touchstones: Taylor Swift, the 9/ 11 attacks, Instagram.

Generation Z

Born: 1996 to 2009.
Traits: Raised with mobile technology at their fingertips, Gen Zers think visually and globally about making the world a better place.
Stereotype: Digital addicts.
Cultural touchstones: YouTube influencers, the Obama presidency, Snapchat.

Sources: Pew Research Center; Sarah Sladek, XYZ University; Neil Howe, Forbes