People of generation X were born between 1965 and 1980. The generation is called the middle child or the forgotten middle child because of its size in comparison with Millennials and Baby Boomers. Gen X was the first generation to grow up during a time where people used personal computers. One reason they are called Generation X (meaning the variable) is because they refuse to be defined. Not only did they witness the first home computers but also other great advancements such as space exploration.
It is said that the members of Generation X are great at maintaining and balancing their personal and work life. They are also known as the Post Boomers, Baby Busters and the Latchkey Generation. In this article, you will learn 12 characteristics of Generation X.
Before we move on, please allow me to tell you a little more about generation x members. During the time they were born there was a lot of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. Although they are a small group that came after Baby Boomers and before millennials, many members of this generation have helped shape the world. In 2022, Gen X years were between 42 and 57 years old. In 2019 there were approximately 65.2 million Gen Xers according to the US Census data. This generation makes up about 35% of the workforce. Gen Xers are the parents of Generation Z and millennials. The silent generation are the parents of Gen Xers.
Here Are 12 Characteristics of Generation X
Gen Xers grew up being left alone for long periods of time due to a lot of single parenting. These latchkey kids became very independent and mainly relied on themselves. They are more autonomous than other generations. Gen Xers have no problem working solo and are very efficient when they are alone.
- Casual Dressers
This group of individuals came along at a time when casual dress Fridays became popular. Gen Xers take it a step further and prefer to be casual all the time at the office. They are not concerned if it is a traditional office where it is common to dress in informal attire. It is highly unlikely that you will see many Gen Xers dressed in uniforms as they are not interested in that type of attire.
Along with Gen Xers relying on themselves they also have a huge entrepreneurial spirit. Many Gen Xers have started dot-com companies and several technical based start-ups. They developed strategic thinking, management, leadership and entrepreneurial skills which help them become successful in the business world. In the mid-80s to the 1990s Gen Xers gained a reputation for entrepreneurship. In October 2014, Time Magazine published an article citing Gen Xers as “poised for great leadership.” They also added that they’re leading most U.S. growth companies.
Gen Xers learned to be flexible out of necessity due to varied developments in history as well as many drastic social changes. Whenever change comes, this is a generation that is ready for it and flexible enough to handle whatever is thrown their way. When Gen Xers coupled their critical thinking skills and flexibility together they made many changes in the workplace and in communication.
- Good Work-Life Balance
It is imperative to members of this generation to be able to find enough time to spend with their families, socialize and have a healthy work life. They need balance for all of these things to fit in their lives. They have no problem taking off work to travel all over the world and to try foods from every culture imaginable.
- Critical Thinkers
Some people consider the critical thinking of generation X to be somewhat cynical. However this highly generation grew up during a time where society had great division. Gen Xers had good reason to always be critical especially when it came to thinking about the world they lived in. During their lifetime they experienced the Watergate scandal, Vietnam War as well as a division in society.
These posts Baby Boomers had no choice but to learn to depend upon themselves and make the best of the cards from the hands they were dealt. They grew up at a time where there was a threat of nuclear war so they didn’t have much to look forward to. This did not stop them from having a lot of drive and wanting to make a difference in the world they lived in.
Gen Xers learned to adapt to the high level of immigrants that came to the United States. This generation appreciates diversity as they often interacted a lot with other cultures such as Asians, Africans, Europeans, Latin Americans and Hispanics. No other generation encountered such a huge cultural change, especially in the workplace.
- Tech Savvy
Technology was changing swiftly while Gen Xers were growing up. There was a transition from analog to digital technology and Gen Xers were the first generation to grow up with personal computers in the home. One of the reasons they are so tech savvy is because they learn to use these home computers at a very early age. Not long after that came the revolution of the internet and this generation was the first to use cell phones which later developed into smartphones.
- Lots of Exposure
Gen Xers grew up in a world when television content started changing and became more provocative. They began showing more nudity, sex and violence. The media aired a wide variety of programs, music and international shows that contained diverse content. Women empowerment and high divorce rates led to Generation Xers having little or no adult supervision. Generation Xers were able to experience all the things that were happening around them.
- Musical Interests
Although Gen X loved Hip Hop and it is one of the genres that defined their generation they also loved several popular artists in the ’90s. Hootie and the blowfish, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Creed were just a few of their favorite artists. They also love several trending groups in Hip Hop such as Jay Z, Tupac, NWA, LL Cool J and MC hammer. These groups touched on many subjects like sex, black nationalism, urban poverty, and racial politics. The lyrics in hip hop explained a lot of social challenges that affected the urban culture such as religion, crime, violence and drugs.
Most of the members in this generation grew up and don’t remember a time prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Gen Xers typically believe in equal rights and they were the first generation to grow up after the Civil Rights movement. This is probably one of the reasons they are such a diverse group.
FAQs About Generation X
- What years define Generation X?
Generation X is typically defined as the cohort of individuals born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s.
- What is Generation X age range?
Generation X typically refers to individuals born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s. The exact age range may vary slightly depending on different sources and definitions.
- What age is Gen X and Z?
Generation X currently spans approximately from their late 30s to mid-50s. On the other hand, Generation Z generally includes individuals born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, so they are currently in their late teens to early 20s.
- What are the key characteristics of Generation X?
Generation X is known for their independent and self-reliant nature, adaptability to change, entrepreneurial spirit, and skepticism towards authority.
- What major historical events did Generation X experience?
Generation X witnessed events such as the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of technology, the AIDS epidemic, and the emergence of grunge music and alternative culture.
- How did Generation X influence popular culture?
Generation X had a significant impact on popular culture through their embrace of alternative music, independent films, and the rise of the Internet as a cultural and communication platform.
- How does Generation X differ from other generations, such as Baby Boomers and Millennials?
Generation X falls between the Baby Boomers and Millennials and is often characterized as a generation that experienced rapid societal changes and the transition into the digital age.
- What are the career preferences of Generation X?
Generation X values work-life balance, autonomy in the workplace, and personal fulfillment in their careers. They often seek out diverse professional experiences and value lifelong learning.
- How did Generation X experience parenting and family dynamics?
Generation X faced unique challenges in parenting, often referred to as “latchkey kids” due to the increase in dual-income households. They tend to prioritize quality time with their families and foster independence in their children.
- What role did Generation X play in technological advancements?
Generation X witnessed and participated in the rapid development of technology, including the rise of personal computers, the internet, and the subsequent digital revolution.
- How does Generation X view social and political issues?
Generation X tends to have a pragmatic and independent approach to social and political issues. They value individual rights, diversity, and are often characterized as the “middle child” between Baby Boomers and Millennials.
- What is the lasting legacy of Generation X?
The lasting legacy of Generation X lies in their resilience, adaptability, and contributions to technology, popular culture, and society. They have left an indelible mark on various aspects of contemporary life.
- What is Gen X vs Gen Z vs millennials?
Generation X (Gen X) refers to the cohort born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s. They are often characterized as independent, adaptable, and skeptical towards authority. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the cohort born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, who grew up with the rise of digital technology. Generation Z (Gen Z) includes individuals born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, and they are known for being tech-savvy, diverse, and socially conscious.
- What are the 8 different generations?
The eight different generations, commonly recognized in Western society, are as follows:
- The Lost Generation: 1880-1900
- The Greatest Generation: 1900-1925
- The Silent Generation: 1925-1945
- Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
- Generation X: 1965-1980
- Millennials (Generation Y): 1981-1996
- Generation Z.(“Gen Z” or “Gen Zers”): 1997-2012
- Generation Alpha: 2010-2025
What are Gen Xers known for?
Gen Xers are known for several characteristics and experiences. They grew up during a time of social and technological transition, witnessed the rise of MTV, the birth of personal computers, and the advent of the internet. Gen Xers are often considered independent, self-reliant, adaptable, and entrepreneurial. They have experienced significant societal changes and contributed to the development of alternative culture, music, and the digital revolution.
In short, Generation X, spanning from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, is a cohort known for their resilience, adaptability, and unique cultural impact. Growing up amidst social and technological transitions, Gen Xers have left an indelible mark on society.
This generation faced challenges such as economic instability, shifting family dynamics, and rapid technological advancements. Despite these obstacles, Gen X ers exhibited resilience, adapting to changing circumstances and forging their own paths. They embraced independence, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship, embodying a spirit of individualism and adaptability.
In popular culture, Generation X’s influence is evident through their embrace of grunge music, the punk subculture, and a skepticism towards authority. Their cultural contributions reflect their non-conformist attitudes and desire for authenticity.