Generation X—so named because of the generation’s refusal to be defined—witnessed some of the world’s greatest advancements, including space exploration and the development of the computer.
Generation X is a relatively smaller generation than those that surround it. Because of the size and influence of Baby Boomers and Millennials, Generation X is sometimes referred to as the forgotten middle child of the generations. While this generation is certainly outnumbered, many of this generation have shaped the world during pivotal years of great change and technological advancement.
The term Generation X has been used in a couple earlier ways, but the primary use of the term now is used to define the generation following the Baby Boomers. The X was used to give the idea that the generation resisted being defined, with reference to the variable “x” rather than some other characteristic. Generation X—or Gen X for short—was also known as the Baby Busters, the Latchkey Generation, and Post-Boomers.
According to the Pew Research Center, the birth years of Gen X are 1965–1980. This date range may vary depending on the institution, but what is agreed is that Gen X was born during a unique time in history. Their childhood was defined by many things, such as space exploration, great tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the development of the modern computer.
While the fall of the Berlin Wall was a historic moment in the lives of all generations who witnessed it, it was especially poignant for Gen X. Generation X was born in a time marked by deep tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Similar to how Millennials grew up with smart phones but remember a time without them, Gen X grew up with the very first personal computers. Though computers were invented before the Gen X generation, the technology was mainly used by large companies or governments. During their youth, Gen Xers witnessed the first use of personal home computers. Though personal computers are commonplace now, their use was revolutionary back then!
Gen X was the first generation to grow up after the civil rights movement. Many people in this generation grew up with ideas of equality and diversity and don’t remember a time before the civil rights movement. Generation X received more education than previous generations. As with the experience of Baby Boomers, Gen X grew up with a greater emphasis on STEM education, a trend that has continued for Millennials and Generation Z.