Jun 28, 2019

By Nicole Bitette
The generation is independent and resists being defined.

Generation X, aka the “latchkey” generation, is made up of those born between 1965 and 1980, who spent much of their time alone, or with peers, as more women entered the workforce, divorce rates increased, and the cable TV  became a de facto babysitter.

“Gen Xers are fiercely independent because they were growing up in a different world,” says Viacom’s Christian Kurz, SVP of Global Consumer Insights (GCI).“It wasn’t flower power anymore, it was boom-and-bust economies. And that’s a big difference,”

To help audiences understand what defines demographic groups—including baby boomers, Gen Zers,  Gen Xers, and millennials—the GCI team created a series of research-backed videos, titled "Generations." These in-depth studies help our company and our partners to better understand how people see the world. Plus, they allow our brands and businesses to stay ahead of the trends to make sure the stories we tell are resonating with our audiences.

The latest video in the series explores Gen X—a term coined by author Douglas Coupland in his 1991 book, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.

The “X” represented both the generation’s resistance to being defined and the larger culture’s uncertainty, at the time, about who they were.

Gen X is a smaller generation than millennials and Gen Z, but the rise of mass communications and technology such as the personal computer still influenced them and gave them a better understanding of events in other parts of the world. They were largely influenced by Apartheid in South Africa, and saw dictatorships give way to democracies in many countries. These political upheavals, as well as the AIDS epidemic and the War on Drugs deeply influenced them.

“Cable TV shaped Gen X in the U.S. and around the world,” Kurz added. “And the launch of MTV was really a contributing factor in forming a single global generation out of Gen X.”

Find out what else defines Gen X in the video below:

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