Pew Research Center posted an interesting look at my fellow travelers in “Generation X”. We’re the 34-49 year-olds sandwiched between the younger Boomers and older Millenials, both oversized and over-covered in the media. We are, they point out, the middle child of the modern demography.
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).
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. How come? No one really knows. Generational boundaries are fuzzy, arbitrary and culture-driven. Once fixed by the mysterious forces of the zeitgeist, they tend to firm up over time.
It’s easy to feel sorry for us, “stuck in the middle”. It’s also easy to flip that to positive—Gen X is the generation that can bring together the Boomers and the Millenials to get things done. Sometimes there’s wall in the middle. Sometimes there’s bridges.