Tales for an Accelerated Culture. The term "Generation X" has been used at various times throughout history to describe alienated youth.
In the s, Hungarian photographer Robert Capa used Generation X as the title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately following World War II. Demographer Neil Howe noted the delay in naming this demographic cohort saying, "Over 30 years after their birthday, they didn't have a name.
I think that's germane. Strauss also noted that around the time Coupland's novel was published the symbol "X" was prominent in popular culture, as the film Malcolm X was released in , and that the name "Generation X" ended up sticking.
The "X" refers to an unknown variable or to a desire not to be defined. Research from MetLife examining the boomers split their cohort into "older boomers", which they defined as born between and , and "younger boomers", which they defined as born between and They found much of the cultural identity of the baby boomer generation is associated with the "older boomers", while half of the "younger boomers" were averse to being associated with the baby boomer cohort and a third of those born between and actively identified as members of Generation X.
Howe says that while many demographers use as a start date for Generation X, this is a statement about fertility in the population birth rates which began declining in , declined more sharply following and fails to take into consideration the shared history and cultural identity of the individuals. Strauss and Howe define Generation X as those born between and How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift.
Gen X , the "Gen X tribe" consisted of individuals born between and At the time it was published they wrote that there are approximately However, increased immigration partially offset declining birth rates and contributed to making Generation X an ethnically and culturally diverse demographic cohort.
Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? Strauss wrote that society "moved from what Leslie Fiedler called a s-era 'cult of the child' to what Landon Jones called a s-era 'cult of the adult'. Thomas also discussed how divorce was different during the Gen X childhood, with the child having a limited or severed relationship with one parent following divorce, often the father, due to differing societal and legal expectations.
In the s, only 9 U. S states allowed for joint custody of children, which has since been adopted by all 50 states following a push for joint custody during the mids. Latchkey children became common among all socioeconomic demographics, but were particularly common among middle and upper class children.
The higher the educational attainment of the parents, the higher the odds the children of this time would be latchkey children, due to increased maternal participation in the workforce at a time before childcare options outside the home were widely available. They were described in a marketing report by Specialty Retail as the kids who "lived the civil rights movement. In the s, demographer William Strauss reported Gen Xers were "by any measure the least racist of today's generations". One in five American children grew up in poverty during this time.
These programs for the elderly were not tied to economic need. Congressman David Durenberger criticized this political situation, stating that while programs for poor children and for young families were cut, the government provided "free health care to elderly millionaires".
Drug turf battles increased violent crime, and crack addiction impacted communities and families. Between and , the homicide rate for black males aged 14 to 17 doubled in the US, and the homicide rate for black males aged 18 to 24 increased almost as much. The crack epidemic had a destabilizing impact on families with an increase in the number of children in foster care. By , an estimated one to two million Americans were HIV positive.
As the virus spread, at a time before effective treatments were available, a public panic ensued. Sex education programs in schools were adapted to address the AIDS epidemic which taught Gen X students that sex could kill you.
A MetLife report noted: After the film was released, "journalists and critics thought they put a finger on what was different about these young adults in that 'they were reluctant to grow up' and 'disdainful of earnest action'. Such stereotypes prompted sociological research at Stanford University to study the accuracy of the characterization of Gen X young adults as cynical and disaffected.
Using the national General Social Survey , the researchers compared answers to identical survey questions asked of 18—year-olds in three different time periods. Additionally, they compared how older adults answered the same survey questions over time. The surveys showed 18—year-old Gen Xers did exhibit higher levels of cynicism and disaffection than previous cohorts of 18—year-olds surveyed; however, they also found that cynicism and disaffection had increased among all age groups surveyed over time, not just young adults, making this a period effect, not a cohort effect.
In other words, adults of all ages were more cynical and disaffected in the s, not just Generation X. Proceeding With Caution, which described those in their 20s as aimless and unfocused; however, in , they published an article titled "Generation X Reconsidered", which retracted the previously reported negative stereotypes and reported positive accomplishments, citing Gen Xers' tendency to found technology start ups and small businesses as well as Gen Xers' ambition, which research showed was higher among Gen X young adults than older generations.
In , The New York Times dubbed them "Generation ", describing them as the "once pitied but now envied group of self-employed workers whose income is reported to the Internal Revenue Service not on a W-2 form , but on Form ". He reported Gen Xers' entrepreneurial tendencies helped create the high-tech industry that fueled the s economic recovery. The firefighters and police responding to the attacks were predominantly Generation Xers.
Additionally, the leaders of the passenger revolt on United Airlines Flight 93 were predominantly Gen Xers.
Gordiner cited examples of Gen Xers' contributions to society such as: Google , Wikipedia , Amazon. In the book, Gordinier contrasts Gen Xers to Baby Boomers, saying Boomers tend to trumpet their accomplishments more than Gen Xers do, creating what he describes as "elaborate mythologies" around their achievements.
Gordiner cites Steve Jobs as an example, while Gen Xers, he argues, are more likely to "just quietly do their thing". If zero means that you are very unhappy and 10 means that you are very happy, please rate your happiness. Only four percent of Generation X adults indicated a great deal of unhappiness a score of three or lower. Twenty-nine percent of Generation X adults were very happy with a score of 9 or 10 on the scale. Howe argues that Gen Xers are not helicopter parents , which Howe describes as a parenting style of Boomer parents of Millennials.
Howe described Gen Xers instead as "stealth fighter parents", due to the tendency of Gen X parents to let minor issues go and to not hover over their children in the educational setting, but to intervene forcefully and swiftly in the event of more serious issues. The rankings were based on a three-year moving average between and Gen X was also ranked highest among fellow workers for having the strongest work ethic chosen by They experienced the emergence of music videos and are sometimes called the MTV Generation.
Tupac Shakur , N. Grunge Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain pictured here in was called the "voice of Generation X", playing the same role for this demographic as Bob Dylan played for s youth and that John Lennon played for the baby boomers.
Grunge song lyrics have been called the " In addition to lyrical self-glorification, hip hop was also used as a form of social protest.
Lyrical content from the era often drew attention to a variety of social issues including afrocentric living, drug use, crime and violence, religion, culture, the state of the American economy, and the modern man's struggle. Conscious and political hip hop tracks of the time were a response to the effects of American capitalism and former President Reagan's conservative political economy. According to Rose Tricia, "In rap, relationships between black cultural practice, social and economic conditions, technology, sexual and racial politics, and the institution policing of the popular terrain are complex and in constant motion.
Even though hip hop was used as a mechanism for different social issues it was still very complex with issues within the movement itself. Hip hop artists often talked about urban poverty and the problems of alcohol, drugs, and gangs in their communities. One line in the song, "We got to pump the stuff to make us tough from the heart"  grabbed listeners' attention and gave them motivation to speak out for themselves.
Smith is most known for his View Askewniverse films, the flagship film being Clerks , which is set in New Jersey circa , and focuses on two convenience-store clerks in their twenties. Linklater's Slacker similarly explores young adult characters who were interested in philosophizing. Is the American Dream Alive and Well? And as with male income, the trend is downward". Small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit that Gen Xers embody have become one of the most popular institutions in America.
There's been a recent shift in consumer behavior and Gen Xers will join the "idealist generation" in encouraging the celebration of individual effort and business risk-taking. As a result, Xers will spark a renaissance of entrepreneurship in economic life, even as overall confidence in economic institutions declines.
Customers, and their needs and wants including Millennials will become the North Star for an entire new generation of entrepreneurs.