The Birth Years of Millennials and Generation Z

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Depending on who you ask or what you read, you’ll likely notice slight variations in the birth years of Millennials and Gen Z. Confusing? Maybe, but generational analysis isn’t an exact science.

So, why do generational birth years matter? While generations are not homogenous cohorts, they are largely influenced by defining moments – typically the most impactful moments of their early lives. Generations develop strong emotional connections to these formative experiences which impact how they view themselves and the world around them. This is important for brands and marketers to understand when trying to reach and create relevance with generational cohorts. It is also equally important to realize that generations are diverse/multifaceted groups, made up of sub-segments.

In a recent post on Pew Research Center’s “Fact Tank” blog, Pew’s president, Michael Dimock, said, “…keep in mind that generations are a lens through which to understand societal change, rather than a label with which to oversimplify differences between groups.”

Recently, Pew Research Center outlined a cutoff point between Millennials and Generation Z. Pew defines Millennials as anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22-37 in 2018). Long before this announcement, we at FutureCast had already outlined our own birth-year parameters for Millennials and Gen Z to help our readers better understand the distinctions between these two modern consumer cohorts.

The chart below, from our book “Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching this Vast – and Very Different – Generation of Influencers,” shows our breakdown of the five living generations and a few of their most defining moments.

The defining moments of each generation

The defining moments of each generation

Want more on Gen Z? Get your copy of our new book, Marketing to Gen Z, here!

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.