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Key Considerations When Communicating Across Generations

Surveys and market research have shown that different generations have very distinct views about products, politics, religion, careers, and just about everything else.

Generation is one of the most important factors that shape people’s opinions and views. But where are the generational dividing lines, and what are some of the key considerations when communicating to each distinct generation? What follows is a brief primer designed to answer these questions and more.


40 Million born before 1945: Are now past the traditional retirement age of 65. Although most are retired, about a third will continue to work at least 5 years beyond retirement. Most Matures are now focused on retirement pursuits, health and aging issues, and their legacy to their children and grandchildren. 16 million Matures served in the armed forces during World War II. Almost one million of them were killed or wounded during the war. Matures have the highest household net worth of any generation.

Baby Boomers

80 Million born between 1946 and 1964: Range in age from their mid-40s to their mid 60s. The oldest Boomers are preparing for retirement. They started turning 65 in 2011. The youngest Boomers are often still raising kids. Some younger Boomers are also the classic “Sandwich” generation. They feel “sandwiched” between caring for their children on the one hand and their elderly parents on the other.

Generation X

45 Million born between 1965 and 1980: Got its name from a 1991 fictional novel, Generation X, written by Canadian author Douglas Coupland. Members of Generation X are in their thirties and forties. They are advanced in their careers and are moving into leadership positions. They have started families and are buying big-ticket items. The average homebuyer is a member of Generation X. If they haven’t already, members of Generation X will soon need to begin to prepare seriously for retirement.


85 Million born between 1981 and 1997: Called Millennials because they are coming of age in a new millennium. They are also known as: Generation Y, The Echo Boom, Generation Next, and Generation Net. Millennials are in their teens and twenties. Adult Millennials often seem stuck in a stage between adolescence and adulthood – adult-olescence, if you will. They are in college and in their early careers. Almost half still live at home. They generally defer marriage, childbearing, and career decisions until later than previous generations. The oldest Millennials are beginning to start families and buy homes. The average first time homebuyer is a Millennial.

Gen i or Gen Z

Approx 38 Million – born 1998 – present: Highly connected, as many of this generation have had lifelong use of communications and media technologies such as the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging, MP3 players, mobile phones and YouTube. Generation i members have virtually no recollection of the September 11 attacks as children; most were not even alive during the attacks. Our Country has been at war for most of or all of their lives.

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