These are the actual age ranges for Millennials, Gen Z, Gen Alpha and more

generations infographic
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“Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin … into the future.”

Do you recognize that 1976 song lyric by the Steve Miller Band? Whether or not you do might depend on your generation. (Sorry, Gen Xers. You’re now going to have “Fly Like an Eagle” running through your head all day.)

But there’s a lot more to a generation than the music they listened to as teens. Roughly every 15 to 18 years, another cohort of people is shaped based on the current events of their childhood and early adulthood.

The Pew Research Center released definitions of each generation in 2019, but that guidance ended with Gen Z. Since then, the generation after Z has emerged a little more clearly: Generation Alpha, or kids born between 2010 and 2025, is now the latest and therefore included here.

Read on to learn where each generation begins and ends, plus some details about their lives.

How Old Is the Silent Generation?

Those in the Silent Generation were born between 1928 and 1945, currently making them 79-96 years old. There are an estimated 50 million of them, and famous members include Paul McCartney, Joe Biden, Harrison Ford, Joni Mitchell and Barbra Streisand.

This generation was shaped by World War II and the Great Depression — experiences that inspired stoic optimism, a sense of patriotism and traditional family values. They’ve lived most of their lives before before the advent of technology like computers and smartphones.

In a survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, various generations were asked if they were “concerned or extremely concerned” with their own mental health. While 58% of millennials and 56% of Generation Z said yes, only 23% of the Silent Generation reported feeling this way.

So, they’d either learned better coping mechanisms, or they really lived up to their “Silent” Generation reputation for not complaining!

couple of silent generation in their 80s
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How Old Are Baby Boomers?

Those in the baby boomer generation were born between 1946 and 1964, making them 60 to 78 years old today. They got their name from being born during the post-World War II “baby boom,” an 18-year period with an elevated birth rate. There are 75 million of them, and famous members include Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Cruise and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Boomers lived through their own slate of formative social and political events, including the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the space race.

MORE: This city ranks first for retirement with baby boomers

They’ve been called the “me generation” for being more self-centered than the Silent Generation, but they were also seen as the “flower generation” — agents of social change for women and minorities.

Baby boomers
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How Old Is Generation X?

Those in Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980, making them 44 to 59 years old today. They got their name from Douglas Coupland’s satirical 1991 novel, “Generation X: Tales for An Accelerated Culture,” about the generation following the boomers. There are about 65 million of them, and famous members include Julia Roberts, Kurt Cobain, Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Aniston and Snoop Dogg.

In the early ’90s when this generation got its name, its members were known as being “slackers” who were jaded and irreverent. Movies like “Reality Bites” and “The Breakfast Club” helped perpetuate this stereotype, but Gen Xers have also come to be known as resourceful and self-reliant.

Some influential events that shaped this generation were the Challenger disaster, Operation Desert Storm and the rise of the personal computer.

MORE: 34 toys you’ll totally remember if you were a kid in the ’80s

Gen X couple
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How Old Are Millennials?

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, currently making them 28 to 43 years old. They got their name from the 1991 book, “Generations,” by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, who tagged them “millennials” because they would graduate high school in 2000. As of July 2022, there are 72 million millennials, and famous members include Taylor Swift, Michael Phelps, Beyoncé and Mark Zuckerberg.

According to Pew Research Center, millennials are more racially and ethnically diverse than previous American generations. When this generation was coming of age, the prevailing parenting idea was that every child should receive a trophy. As a result, older generations have accused millennials of a sense of entitlement.

MORE: Millennials and retired parents are living together in multigenerational housing—here’s how they make it work

But millennials are also known for their idealism and a desire to pursue meaningful work over monetary gain. And having grown up with smartphones and personal computers, they also have an intuitive comfort with and knowledge of technology.

Millenial generation
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How Old Is Generation Z?

Members of Generation Z were born between 1997 and 2012, making them 12 to 27 years old. There are 69.5 million of them, and famous members include Greta Thunberg, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish and Tom Holland.

Gen Z are today’s teens and young adults, and as the first generation to have grown up with smartphones, they are extremely tech-savvy. They’re often referred to as “digital natives” since they’ve grown up with the internet at their fingertips.

This generation has fueled the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, and as a result they are very knowledgeable about trends in music, film, fashion, sports and pop culture.

Perhaps because of the widespread exposure to others through social media, members of Generation Z tend to reject stereotypes and are very open to expressions of individual truth. Nearly a third of Gen Z adults identity as LGBTQ. They are also the most ethnically diverse generation in history, with more than 48% being nonwhite.

But this generation also struggles more than others with mental health challenges. According to Fast Company, 70% of Gen Zers revealed that their mental health could use more attention compared to other health concerns. This could also mean that they are more willing or able to identify issues like anxiety and depression.

Cheerful generation z friends having fun together outdoors.
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How Old Is Generation Alpha?

Members of Generation Alpha were born in the early 2010s through 2025, making them newborns to about 11 years old. You may note that, yes, Gen Alpha being defined as 2010 onward overlaps with Gen Z, which is said to end at 2012. This is because these two generations haven’t all reached adulthood yet, and therefore the boundaries in either direction are still a little fuzzy.

Gen Alpha’s parents are typically members of Generation Y (millennials), and Gen Alpha kiddos tend to be the younger siblings of Generation Z. Mark McCrindle, of the consultancy firm McCrindle Research, named them Alpha after the first letter of the Greek alphabet, because they were the first whole generation to be born into the 21st century.

They’ve also been dubbed the “Polars” by the psychology professor Jean Twenge, author of “Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America’s Future.” Polars is a reference to the two major issues this generation will grapple with: political polarization and the melting polar ice caps (as well as other climate change fall-out).

Generation Alpha
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Does your generation’s description sound right to you?

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About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer
Jennifer Graham Kizer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Health, Parents, Parenting, Redbook and TV Guide. Visit Scripps News to see more of Jennifer's work.

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