Difference between Generations X and Y

By: | Updated: Dec-21, 2017
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Numerous studies claim that just as individuals have their own traits and characteristics, each generation has its own distinct qualities as well. It is this article’s goal to lay out the differences between Generations X and Y.

Summary Table

Generation X Generation Y
Born early 1960s to eartly 80s Early part of the 80s to early 2000s
Lacked supervision Overprotected and sheltered
Individualistic and independent Dependent and value community


Generation X

Generation X is the demographic group which researchers say is made up of people born during the early 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. This generation is a relatively small group compared to the group that came before it (Baby Boomer generation), and the group that came after it, the Millennials or Generation Y.

Generation Xers grew up in a society when soaring divorce rates and mothers joining the workforce resulted in reduced parental or adult supervision. Daycare centers and other childcare options were not widespread at the time. This, according to experts, led the adolescent Gen X’er to grow more independent and individualistic. Experts add that Gen Xers are typically cynical, disaffected, and distrustful of authority. Most people believe they usually are slackers who would rather avoid work than build a career. Gen Xers were dubbed as the MTV generation and witnessed the birth of grunge, alternative rock, and hip hop. They were the first ones to own computers at home, and are mostly capable of catching up with any technological advancements. According to various studies, midlife Gen Xers are seen as happy, active, and appreciative of the value of balance between work and life.

young people

Generation Y, or more popularly known as Millennials, consists of people born in the early 1980s, 90s, and early 2000s. They are typically children of the Baby Boomers and some older Gen Xers. They are also considered “Echo Boomers” because of the surge of birth rates in the 1980s all the way to the 1990s. However, the rise in birth rates was not as large as those of the Baby Boomers during the post World War II boom.

Despite having varied characteristics brought about by geographical boundaries and economic conditions, Millennials have one thing in common: a profound familiarity with media, communications and digital technologies. Unlike their predecessors, most Millennials had better support systems in the form of their “helicopter parents”. Generally speaking, Millennials were brought up with a more liberal view of economics and politics. Adolescent Gen Yers were usually preoccupied with many activities, not to mention their fixation with technological distractions. They can easily work their way through new technology – to them, it is second nature to figure out how a new device works. To Millennials, technology is as vital as the air they breathe, and they only need to turn to the internet to discuss any questions or new experiences they may have.

Generation X vs Generation Y

So, what’s the difference between Generation X and Y? Generation X is made up of people born during the early 60s up until the early 80s while Generation Y are ones born during the early part of the 80s up until the early 2000s. Behavioral experts hold that most young Gen Xers found themselves lacking parental supervision, which allowed them to become self-sufficient and independent. In contrast, many studies state Millennials typically enjoyed a more favorable support systems at home. This may explain why they are more trusting when it comes to authority figures. Their strong liking for social networking sites proves their need for community.

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