How to define the generations: The ultimate guide for marketers

Based on extensive research encompassing dozens of the world's most authoritative demographic experts, The Financial Brand has established a clear and definitive answer to the thorny question: "How do you define the generations?" This detailed analysis includes birth year charts, details on population size, socio-cultural characteristics, and financial benchmarks — including impossible-to-find population distributions for the Silent Generation and Alphas — that empower marketers with the necessary information to make strategic decisions.

Generational segmentation is the backbone of demographic marketing — but how is each generation defined? Exactly who is considered a Boomer and who is Gen X? What are the birth years that separate Millennials from Gen Z?

Unfortunately, no governmental body oversees generational segmentation and defines each cohort. That leaves the question open to sociologists and demographers, who incorporate a wide range of factors to cluster people into one generation or another.

However, there is one parameter experts universally use: birth year. It is the single most important factor determining which generation a person belongs to.

That doesn’t mean experts have reached a consensus for the birth years of each generation. It seems everyone — experts and laypeople alike — brings their own opinions and perspective to bear. Some people simply lump all “young people” into either Millennials or Gen Z, or think of everyone who remembers World War II as the Silent Generation.

 

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