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What is Generation X?

Generation X is a demographic cohort that have a birth date between 1963 and 1981. They are the children of the Baby Boomers, a large and affluent generation, with some having parents from the Silent Generation.

Latchkey Generation

The parents of Generation X were hard working and had a relatively high divorce rate as compared to historical norms. As a consequence, Generation X had reduced adult supervision as a generation. During the period that Generation X were growing up the media often discussed the problem of children who go home alone after school and prepare their own meals. The term latchkey child was commonly used to refer to this phenomena. This early independence may have helped Generation X as they are known for self-efficacy, personal resilience and confidence.

MTV Generation

Generation X experienced childhood without the internet. They consumed a great deal of mass media such as television and music videos in particular. This may have had a unifying effect on the generation as people were watching the same content that established a common vocabulary of youth culture. This also enabled a good level of youthful rebellion as represented by the music of the era such as Hip Hop and popular "alternative music" such as Grunge.


As young adults, the media often accused Generation X of having a low work ethic with little regard for convention or norms. The term slacker emerged to describe this behavior. The Baby Boomers initially found Generation X to be difficult to manage and rebellious. This may have been part of the process whereby Generation X challenged the Baby Boomers for control of resources and strategy.

Internet Bubble

Generation X played a central role in the commercialization of the internet beginning in the mid-1990s. The period 1995 - 2001, known as the internet bubble, was a time of rapid change that allowed many members of Generation X to get a taste for innovation early in their careers.


Generation X are known to value quality of life and work-life balance. They appear to live life as if they are correcting the perceived mistakes of their parents such as working too hard or not spending enough time with the family. As a generation, they are described as independent, resourceful, risk taking, pragmatic, self-managing, cynical and innovative. As parents, they are known to spend a great deal of time with their children and to be involved in their lives.


The definition above applies primarily to developed countries and is focused on American Culture.
As with any demographic cohort, the descriptions above are generalizations that don't describe everyone accurately but are rather broad trends.
Overview: Generation X
A demographic cohort that have a birth date between 1963 and 1981.
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Coupland, Douglas. Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture. Macmillan, 1991.
Thielfoldt, Diane, and Devon Scheef. "Generation X and the Millennials: What you need to know about mentoring the new generations." Law practice Today 30.5 (2004).
Borges, Nicole J., et al. "Comparing millennial and generation X medical students at one medical school." Academic Medicine 81.6 (2006): 571-576
Bickel, Janet, and Ann J. Brown. "Generation X: Implications for faculty recruitment and development in academic health centers." Academic Medicine 80.3 (2005): 205-210.


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