Use These Dates to Define Millennials
A few years ago there emerged, at last, a calm consensus among social and market researchers about defining our current generations. Now when we talk about Boomers, we all know that the last year a Boomer was born was in 1964. And the oldest Millennials are now 38 years old.
The problem is that if you are reading this in 2019, then the oldest Millennials are 38 years old. If you are reading this in 2020 or beyond, then you need to keep adding one year at a time. So although we may agree on cut-off dates, half the numbers we need to reference will change every year. And if you calculate age from birth year, like we typically do in our surveys, sometimes the numbers you reference will change every six months (mid-year instead of calendar year)!
Which means we need a chart—a handy reference guide that lays out birth years and current ages for those of us asking about age and referring to generations in our research and marketing work. I was impressed with this recent chart I saw from Pew, posted here for my future reference and for yours:
I use these dates and age ranges all the time: in fact, every time I write a survey and update numbers. I also find myself continually translating them into working formulas as we transform our survey data (“What year were you born?”) into ages, which we then label back again onto the generations.
There is no governing body or industry standards group saying these are the “official” dates by which to define generations. And even these numbers can be a bit squishy. The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, refers to baby boomers being born between mid-1946 and mid-1964. So where does “mid” start and end?
But as of right now, in the year early-to-mid-2019, these dates are as close to “official” you can get. Use these dates, and you can feel confident that you and your business colleagues are talking about the same generations.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.