Which Gen, When

You tend to hear a lot about how the “baby boomers” are going to become (are becoming) a huge burden on society as they age and leave the workforce. Then it falls to the generations after the ‘boomers’ to pay enough in taxes and other fees and charges to:

  1. Continue to provide governments worldwide with enough money to do those things that governments need to do.
  2. Provide the medical and social benefits (pensions and such) that the aging generations, the bulk of which will be the boomers, are entitled to.

This lead me to wonder exactly what is a boomer?

So I went in search of a table or such that clearly set out who the boomers are, and also where all the other generations that get talked about, such as Gen X and Gen Y, actually slot in. It seems there is not really a formal and agreed set of dates that define the various generations. The date ranges tend have a degree of flexibility built in depending on what is being discussed and therefore where it would be convenient for the various generational sets to fit in.

However the following table that I have put together is a useful starting point.


[The “% of population” refers to the Western World]

I started out using data from Wikipedia and then fine tuned the date ranges a bit using data from a few other sites.

As I said, these date ranges tend to get fiddled with and blurred together depending on what is being discussed. Often when someone is referring to the ‘boomers’ they are actually including the Pre-boomers plus the Boomers in the group they are talking about—covering the range 1946 to 1965. In fact, in their heads, they may even be covering everything up to Gen X, being all generations up to 1965, which then works out to 47% of the population.