For decades, Pew Research center has to be committed come measuring public mindsets on key issues and documenting distinctions in those attitudes across demographic groups. One lens frequently employed by researchers at the facility to understand these differences is that of generation.

Generations carry out the chance to look at american both by their place in the life bike – whether a young adult, a middle-aged parent or a pensioner – and also by their membership in a cohort of individuals who to be born at a comparable time.

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Michael Dimock, president of Pew research Center

As we’ve check in previous work, generational cohorts give researchers a device to analyze alters in views over time. Lock can carry out a method to know how various formative experiences (such as human being events and technological, economic and also social shifts) interact with the life-cycle and also aging process to shape people’s see of the world. When younger and older adults may differ in their views at a provided moment, generational cohorts enable researchers to examine exactly how today’s older adults felt about a given concern when lock themselves to be young, and to define how the trajectory that views might differ throughout generations.

Pew Research facility has been studying the Millennial generation for an ext than a decade. But by 2018, it became clear to us that it was time to identify a cutoff suggest between Millennials and the next generation. Transforming 38 this year, the earliest Millennials are well into adulthood, and they an initial entered adulthood before today’s youngest adult were born.

In order to keep the Millennial generation analytically meaningful, and to start looking in ~ what could be unique about the following cohort, Pew Research center decided a year ago to use 1996 as the critical birth year because that Millennials for our future work. Everyone born between 1981 and also 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is thought about a Millennial, and also anyone born native 1997 onward is part of a new generation.


Since the oldest amongst this climbing generation room just transforming 22 this year, and most room still in their teens or younger, us hesitated at very first to give them a name – Generation Z, the iGeneration and also Homelanders were some early on candidates. (In our very first in-depth look at this generation, we provided the hatchet “post-Millennials” together a placeholder.) yet over the past year, Gen Z has actually taken organize in popular culture and journalism. Sources varying from Merriam-Webster and Oxford come the city Dictionary now include this name for the generation that complies with Millennials, and also Google trends data show that “Generation Z” is much outpacing various other names in people’s searches because that information. While there is no scientific procedure for deciding once a name has actually stuck, the momentum is clearly behind Gen Z.

Generational cutoff clues aren’t an accurate science. They need to be viewed mostly as tools, permitting for the kinds of analyses thorough above. But their limits are no arbitrary. Generations space often considered by your span, yet again over there is no agreed upon formula for exactly how long that expectancy should be. At 16 years (1981 come 1996), our working definition of Millennials is equivalent in period span to their preceding generation, Generation X (born between 1965 and also 1980). By this definition, both are shorter than the expectations of the infant Boomers (19 years) – the only generation officially designated through the U.S. Census Bureau, based on the renowned surge in post-WWII births in 1946 and a significant decline in birthrates after ~ 1964.

Unlike the Boomers, there space no comparably critical thresholds by which later generational limits are defined. However for analytical purposes, we think 1996 is a meaningful cutoff between Millennials and also Gen Z because that a variety of reasons, including crucial political, economic and also social factors that define the Millennial generation’s developmental years.


Most Millennials were between the ages of 5 and 20 when the 9/11 terrorist assaults shook the nation, and many were old enough to understand the historical significance of the moment, while most members the Gen Z have tiny or no storage of the event. Millennials also grew increase in the zero of the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, i beg your pardon sharpened broader views the the parties and contributed to the extreme political polarization that forms the existing political environment. And most Millennials were in between 12 and also 27 throughout the 2008 election, wherein the force of the youth vote became part of the political conversation and also helped selected the very first black president. Added to that is the truth that Millennials are the many racially and also ethnically varied adult generation in the nation’s history. Yet the next generation – Generation Z – is even more diverse.

Beyond politics, most Millennials came of age and entered the workforce encountering the height of an financial recession. As is well documented, many of Millennials’ life choices, future earnings and also entrance come adulthood have actually been shame by this recession in a way that might not it is in the situation for their younger counterparts. The long-term effects of this “slow start” because that Millennials will certainly be a variable in American society for decades.

Technology, in certain the rapid advancement of how human being communicate and also interact, is another generation-shaping consideration. Infant Boomers flourished up together television broadened dramatically, an altering their lifestyles and connection come the people in an essential ways. Generation X flourished up together the computer transformation was taking hold, and also Millennials came of age during the web explosion.

In this progression, what is unique for Generation Z is that every one of the above have been part of their lives from the start. The iPhone introduced in 2007, as soon as the oldest Gen Zers were 10. By the moment they to be in their teens, the primary way by i m sorry young Americans connected with the internet was v mobile devices, WiFi and high-bandwidth moving service. Society media, continuous connectivity and on-demand entertainment and also communication are innovations Millennials adjusted to together they came of age. Because that those born after 1996, this are mostly assumed.

The ramifications of growing up in one “always on” technological environment space only now coming right into focus. Current research has shown dramatic shifts in youth behaviors, attitudes and also lifestyles – both positive and also concerning – for those who came of age in this era. What we don’t recognize is whether these are lasting generational imprints or characteristics of adolescence that will certainly become an ext muted end the course of your adulthood. Start to monitor this new generation in time will be of far-reaching importance.

Pew Research facility is no the an initial to attract an analysis line between Millennials and also the generation to monitor them, and many have offered well-reasoned arguments for drawing that line a few years earlier or later than whereby we have. Perhaps, as an ext data are built up over the years, a clear, singular delineation will emerge. Us remain open to recalibrating if the occurs. But much more than most likely the historical, technological, behavioral and attitudinal data will show more of a continuum throughout generations than a threshold. As has been the instance in the past, this way that the distinctions within generations can be simply as good as the differences across generations, and also the youngest and oldest within a commonly defined cohort might feel much more in typical with bordering generations than the one come which they space assigned. This is a reminder the generations themselves space inherently diverse and facility groups, not an easy caricatures.

In the close to term, girlfriend will watch a number of reports and analyses native the center that proceed to build on our portfolio of generational research. Today, us issued a report feather – for the first time – at exactly how members of Generation Z view few of the key social and political worries facing the nation today and how your views compare through those of enlarge generations. To it is in sure, the see of this generation space not fully formed and could change considerably as they age and as national and global events intervene. Even so, this early on look provides some compelling clues about how Gen Z will assist shape the future politics landscape.

In the coming weeks, we will certainly be releasing demography analyses that compare Millennials come previous generations in ~ the very same stage in their life bike to check out if the demographic, economic and household dynamics that Millennials continue to was standing apart from your predecessors. In addition, us will develop on our research on teens’ an innovation useby trying out the daily lives, aspirations and also pressures today’s 13- to 17-year-olds challenge as castle navigate the teenage years.

Yet, we remain cautious around what deserve to be projected top top a generation once they continue to be so young. Donald Trump might be the very first U.S. President many Gen Zers understand as they revolve 18, and also just as the contrast between George W. Bush and Barack Obama shaped the political debate for Millennials, the present political environment may have actually a comparable effect on the attitudes and engagement that Gen Z, though exactly how remains a question. As vital as today’s news may seem, it is much more than most likely that the technologies, debates and events that will form Generation Z room still however to it is in known.

We look forward to security the next few years examining this generation as it start adulthood. All the while, we’ll save in mind that generations space a lens with which to recognize societal change, quite than a label with which to oversimplify differences in between groups.

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Note: This is an update of a article that was initially published in march 1, 2018, come announce the Center’s fostering of 1996 together an endpoint come births in the Millennial generation.