By contrast, Baby Boomers have been a source of media fascination from the get-go (witness their name).
And Millennials, the “everybody-gets-a-trophy” generation, have been the subject of endless stories about their racial diversity, their political and social liberalism, their voracious technology use, and their grim economic circumstances.
But there’s another reason that Xers are a small generation: They’ve been deemed to span just 16 years, while most generations are credited with lasting for about 20 years. Once fixed by the mysterious forces of the zeitgeist, they tend to firm up over time. World War II photographer Robert Capa first coined the term Generation X in a photo essay about the young adults of the 1950s, but the label didn’t stick the first time around.
It was revived thirty years later by Canadian author Douglas Coupland, whose coming of age novel, , was set in Southern California. From everything we know about them, they’re savvy, skeptical and self-reliant; they’re not into preening or pampering, and they just might not give much of a hoot what others think of them. Paul Taylor, executive vice president for special projects at the Pew Research Center, is the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown (Public Affairs, 2014).
Gen Xers have also gotten the short end of basic generational arithmetic.Due partly to their parents’ relatively low fertility rates, there are fewer of them (65 million) than Boomers (77 million) or Millennials (an estimated 83 million assuming a roughly 20-year age span and including those who have yet to reach adulthood). Generational boundaries are fuzzy, arbitrary and culture-driven.