Some Recent Research on Gen X

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7 mins read

If you have read this page for very long (or perused the archives), you know that Gen X has been a big focal point, especially of my articles. There are several reasons for this, but the two that stand out (at least to me) are that we (the writers/editors) are pretty much all Gen X, and that Gen X are the ones who are taking the lead in trying to reclaim Western Civilization.
Now, don’t misunderstand, there are plenty of lousy Gen X’ers out there. Many have consumed the libtard koolaid and have gone to the dark side. No doubt about it. Many have not even really taken sides, but slipped into a form of despair, thinking that the sky is going to fall at any moment. Vanderbilt did a study that argues that Gen X has seen a rise of depression (and this Market Watch article follows that same train of thought). Maybe so, but there are some important things to consider, in this regard. First, it won’t take the entire generational cohort to enact change, so if the weaker ones are simply out of the way, one way or another, it won’t really matter. Second, this is the sort of thing that can turn many marginal folks into extremists. When social conditions are such that despair and depression are on the rise, we can see folks breaking in both directions.
Even the godawful New York Times has noticed that Gen X does things their own way. This article claims that Gen X was never composed of slackers. We just played by our own rules, doing our own things however we wanted. From the article:

When X broke the rules, it was punk rock…We broke the rules because we didn’t care about the rules. We weren’t even sure they existed…Far from staring down morosely at scuffed Converse All-Stars, we craned our necks, looking for that next big thing over the horizon, never comfortable, never satisfied. If that next big thing was bad, we got over it…

Who’s sorry now? Between 2010 and 2016, Generation X saw its median household net worth skyrocket 115 percent. Boomers were still mired at pre-2007 levels.

Maybe that’s the thing about being a generation without any particular identity or belief system: We are adaptable, a weedy species, like rats or cockroaches, built to survive any environment. We are hard to stamp out….In today’s polarized online hellscape of a world, regardless of background or political chances, I like our chances to fix things after whatever inferno awaits.

DDI, a global leadership consulting firm, points out that Gen X  members make good leaders. They point out that Gen X leaders have a powerful influence in that they:

  1. Are primed to take on nearly every important leadership role in organizations.
  2. They already hold 51 percent of leadership roles globally and will continue to grow into more senior positions.
  3. Are just as digitally savvy as Millennials, but with more experience.
  4. Early Adapters/use Social Media more than any other generation.
  5. Strong conventional leadership skillset.
  6. Though slower to advance than both Boomers and Millennials, Xers are more loyal, by far.
  7. More willing than other generations to seek out coaching to grow and improve.

While some folks argue that Gen X is the smallest generational cohort in play today, some studies show otherwise, with Gen X actually the largest current cohort (since lots of Boomers are dying out). This article gives these statistics:

Boomers – 76 million in USA
Xers – 82 mission in USA
Millennials – 73 million in USA
Gen Z – 74 million in USA (with the majority too young to vote at present).

That same article gives these descriptions of the generations:

Boomers – want to help their children, but not actually leave them any inheritance. (Author’s translation: They will help, as long as it doesn’t cramp their style.)
Xers –  Trying to raise a family, pay off student debt, and take care of aging parents.  They are looking to reduce their debt while building a stable saving plan for the future.
Millennials – Millennials are entering the workforce with high amounts of student debt. They want partners that will help guide them to their big purchases. (Author’s Note: What in the world? They need help in deciding how and what to purchase? Real good leadership potential there….)
Gen Z – Learning about personal finance. They have a strong appetite for financial education and are opening savings accounts at younger ages than prior generations.

Speaking of the comparison between Gen X and Millennials, how about health issues?  Blue Cross/Blue Shield released a report that argues that Gen X was healther than Millennials (at comparable ages).

The study’s main finding, listed at the top of the report, is that “older millennials (age 34-36) have higher prevalence rates for nearly all of the top 10 conditions than did Generation X members when they were in the same age range.” Of the 10 conditions, six were behavioral (affecting mental health), while four were physical.

So there is ongoing research, and it is worth checking out those studies, as they give some insight to the discerning reader about the people that make up the USA (and other historically Western cultures).
Overall, they show me that Gen X is primed and equipped to take up the mantle that is being placed before it. Surely, not all will, but there will be enough to get the job done. Keep the faith, and no matter what generation you are a part of, you are in a position to do something to help. Stand up and do what is right. Because what is Hard Right is always the right thing to do.

Lead Scheduler at MOTW. Husband, Father, but most importantly, a man of God. Possesses more degrees that most people find useful.

13 Comments

  1. I was born at the original tail end of the Baby Boom (1957). I raised two Gen X’ers and one Millennial. They and their friends were and still are AWESOME people, who are now raising their own families.
    I personally believe the each of you are the NEW “Greatest Generation”. Ya’ll have been fighting these wars with one hand tied behind your backs and the Sword of Damocles hanging heavy over your heads through no fault or desire of your own, but unlike that mythical figure, you have never waivered.
    You – Gen X and the Millennials and Gen Z – are going to do the things the previous generations shirked until Donald John Trump (perhaps the best of my generation) was called to stand up, and our nation, and the world, will be the better for it.
    The future is in good hands, and I salute all of you.

    • Thank you Tina. Just to put it out there, as we do tend to bash Boomers quite a bit (and the Millennials, as well), we do know that there are some good folks in those groups, too. In fact, we do have a couple of non-Gen X writers on these pages. We just adopted them into our group.

  2. Gen-X-ers are warriors ready to enter battle and Gen-Z our spear. Boomers and Millennials can’t understand the rage boiling X and Z and how that manifests differently for each.
    We can fail, it’s true, but it won’t be because of losers pulling us down.

    • Honestly, most social research is focused on Boomers and Millennials. Gen Z is getting more attention, as they reach maturity. Gen X has always been ignored, for the most part. Consider how Strauss and Howe handled us – we got one book. Between them, they wrote several about generations in general, and Howe (Strauss died a few years back) has gone on to write many books about Millennials, but they only produced one Gen X book, and that was back in the mid-90s. We are, as we have always been, the overlooked generation.
      But we don’t care.
      Also, note that you can find research to say just about anything you want. We could find plenty to say that Gen X is still a group a slackers, as well as research to say we never were. The key is to figure out what research is useful and credible. It helps if you are actually a member, and know lots of others, as our anecdotal experiences can give some insight, though we have to be careful with that, as well. My experience may not always be representative of the whole, for example.

      • “Honestly, most social research is focused on Boomers and Millennials.”
        Because Boomers love talking about themselves and they love things that look like themselves, aka Millennials.
        We Xers weren’t Boomers and we aren’t Millennials, so we’re swept aside.
        Of course, we’re just amused by their antics, knowing the Boomers are shuffling off to their eternal rewards and the Millennials are, well, Millennials.

      • Yeah, I always thought of us as “slackers.” We were supposed to be “the first generation to do worse than our parents.” I think that sunk into us hard. I remember seeing so many youngsters laying on the couch, smoking grass and watching stupid shows. I didn’t thin there was any dynamism in us. And the late Xers got all the depressing, self-loathing music in the 90s.

        • That is what we got told. One thing Xers pretty much always hated was being labeled, so if we kept quiet about their idiotic labeling, they tended to find something else to harp on, and would leave us alone.
          And hey, some of that 90s music is awesome.
          Go listen to Cracker.

  3. One thing about Xers is that before the DotCom boom, He were prepared and ready to not make as much as our Boomer sibs and Silent or Greatest parents. It became obvious to us in college (before college came with crushing debt), we bitched and moaned but ultimately made plans to deal with it.
    I think one of the cruelest things that happened to the Xers was the first two DotCom booms and busts. They gave us a taste of what our sibs and parents had, made some of us millionaires, and gave the rest of us hope that we could sit back and the riches would just flow in…those of us who believed that got the boot party we deserved when that pie in the sky 90s future crashed and burned. Luckily, the lessons of early college managed to kick in… back to the original plan of dealing with what we have rather than what we think we are owed to us.

    • That perspective of “dealing” is important. We are realists, for the most part, and can make pretty much any situation work out. We can deal with it. We are good at adapting to what comes our way.

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