The term “Millennial” is thrown around a lot these days. But what does it mean, exactly? Naming generations is not a new concept. First there were the post-WWII baby boomers, then the children of the boomers born in the early 1960’s through the early 1980’s known as Generation X. The current young adult generation is Generation Y, born in the 1980’s through the early 2000’s, hence the nickname “Millennials”. Right now, Generations Xers are aged in their mid-30’s to early 50’s, and Millennials are their early 20’s through early 30’s.
So what’s the difference between Generations X and Y? According to Wikipedia, Gen Xers are often called the MTV Generation because they came of age during the emergence of music videos, new wave music, electronic music, heavy metal, punk rock, alternative rock, and hip hop. Compared with previous generations, Generation X embraces social diversity with open arms. Unlike their Boomer parents who challenged leaders with an intent to replace them, Gen Xers are less likely to idolize leaders and are more inclined to work toward long-term institutional and systematic change through economic, media, and consumer actions. Gen Xers are notoriously cynical, but considering this is a large generation, blanket statements like these do not cover all subcultures and eras within it.
Millennials are sometimes referred to as “Generation Me” due to the characteristics of confidence and tolerance, along with a sense of entitlement and narcissism. This generation is largely shaped by technology. They are comfortable sharing their entire life with the world online. While a Gen Xer might hold one job for their entire working career, Millennials switch jobs frequently due to higher expectations and entitlement. Generation Y is also unfortunately plagued with high student loan debt and unemployment rates. It is said that Generation X lives to work, while Generation Y works to live.
It is important to note that these are sweeping generalizations about the two generations, and although these are traits and characteristics of the generations as a whole, it does not apply to many individuals within the groups. Just as individuals are a product of their upbringing and environment, so too are generations a product of the social and economic landscape in which they are born.
At South Sioux City Chamber of Commerce, we are dedicated to increasing business opportunities and quality of life for all generations. If you’re interested in learning more about how we serve the local community, browse our website or give us a call!