Defining the Generations

Four–and, in some cases, up to five–different generations are now represented in higher education and some industries. Each generation has been shaped by the historical markers of its time; each generation has its own set of unique characteristics.

In my opinion, the Jill Novak article over on Tim Friesner’s MarketingTeacher site does one of the best jobs of defining the generations:

  • Traditionalists/Silent Generation (1925-1945)
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Generation X (1965-1980)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (1981-1994)
  • Generation Z/Boomlets (1995-2009)
  • Generation Alpha (2010-2025)

Further complicating matters are “cuspers,” defined as those individuals born at the very end of each of these date ranges (Karpus, 2015). Cuspers are unique in that they encompass a blend of characteristics from the two generations they bridge.

If you ask me, this is exciting stuff that has the potential to change our future in unknown yet (I predict) very good ways–but not without a challenge or two!


Karpus, J. (2015). Need a Scorecard?. Tire Business, 33(12), 0010.

Novak, J. (n.d.). The six living generations. Marketing Teacher. Retrieved from