Millennials pass Baby Boomers

FT_16_04.25_generations2050The torch has now been passed to a new generation in America. Millennials, it’s all yours. Don’t mess it up.

Analyzing Census Bureau data, Pew Research says Millennials have now overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the country, a blow to Gen X, which never got its day at the top of the heap.

Pew said the number of Millennial immigrants contributed to the generation’s ascent. But enough about you, Millennials. Will nobody notice Gen X?

For a few more years, Gen Xers are projected to remain the “middle child” of generations – caught between two larger generations of the Millennials and the Boomers. They are smaller than Millennials because the generational span of Gen X (16 years) is shorter than the Millennials (17 years). Also, the Gen Xers were born during a period when Americans were having fewer children than later decades. When Gen Xers were born, births averaged around 3.4 million per year, compared with the 3.9 million annual rate during the 1980s and 1990s when Millennials were born.

Though the oldest Gen Xer is now 50, the Gen X population will still grow for a few more years. The Gen X population is projected to outnumber the Boomers in 2028 when there will be 64.6 million Gen Xers and 63.7 million Boomers. The Census Bureau projects that the Gen X population will peak at 65.8 million in 2018.

No doubt all of this will spark the usual braying from Baby Boomers about Millennials.

You should maybe educate yourself on the subject, insists Brian O’Malley, a Millennial venture capitalist writing to dispel myths on Forbes.com.

Part of what makes people go bug-eyed when it comes to millennials is that they’re so incredibly hard to pin down. Instead of focusing on millennials-at-large, it is critical for entrepreneurs to look more specifically at audiences and their particular need. Instead of trying to get x% of millennial adoption, focus on specific groups with specific pain. The best products are loved by a small audience before they’re liked by a larger one.

So, before assuming millennials are lazy, ill-informed narcissists, get to know your customers as deeply as possible. Understand the challenges and opportunities related to coming-of-age in today’s society. Understand the differences between being fresh out of college, looking for a more challenging job and settling down to start a family.

These realities are so different, yet they all get bucketed into the same stereotype. By looking a bit closer, you may be pleasantly surprised by the diversity and passion coming from today’s young adults. As the data shows, they are some of the most competitive, altruistic and educated people this planet has ever seen.

  • Brian Simon

    Maybe before casting aspersions, boomers could clean up their own act. By and large they’ve really fouled things up for the rest of us.

    Gen X

  • Dan

    “…a blow to Gen X, which never got its day at the top of the heap.
    …But enough about you, Millennials. Will nobody notice Gen X?”

    It’s alright, man. I mean, whatever. We’re used to it.

    • Mike Worcester

      It’s like we never existed…. :O

    • You want to be ignored? Try being in my mom’s generation, the “Silent” generation…smack dab between the “Greatest” generation and the “Boomers.”

      • 212944

        Or Generation Jones … by the time we showed up, things were already on the downswing but we get tagged as Boomers when the conversation goes negative.

        Sorry, the factories were already closed when I graduated high school into the Reagan Recession and stagnant wages and the U.S. foreign policy had been baked by the “Greatest Generation” for decades.

        • Yep, that’s my Generation (Jones)…Grew up in the 70’s and early 80’s. Knew enough to know that the Reagan administration was a complete failure…

  • jon

    I’m just glad we didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to bash millennials for being lazy… not that it’s any different from the abuse the lazy generation X took back in the 90’s, or the lazy generation of hippie boomers before them…

    I’m looking forward to telling generation z that they are lazy and need to move out of their parents house, and get a job (and stay off my lawn, and stop skateboarding on the sidewalk!)… I suspect that we can start in the next 5-10 years.

    • Jeff R.

      /hoverboarding over your lawn….

  • wjc

    I for one am sick to death of these generation characterizations. None of the generations are monolithic. IMHO, you can’t understand anything based on these labels.

    Except that Gary will refer to “Millennials” as “precious little snowflakes.”

  • Khatti

    How did we get in the silly habit of declaring allegiance to an era instead of a nation?

    • Tom Brokaw wrote a book.

      • Rob

        It was called Just a Guy from Yankton, right?

      • Khatti

        I think it’s safe to say it started before that.

  • Rob

    No matter what generation you’re in, if you live long enough to be an old person, you can look forward to being ignored and considered irrelevant.

    • Khatti

      I’m halfway there already.

  • Tyler

    Oh, hey, we’re a thing again? I thought we were just lumped in as Millenials at this point.

    But seriously, we probably share more characteristics with M’s than BB’s.

  • 212944

    Pretty sure it happened on a Tuesday, sometime after lunch.