Introducing The Generations

In June and July we are hosting three evenings at St Paul’s under the title “Church – Past Present & Future.” The intention of these evenings is to explore some of the background to the nature of the church in the 21st century and how we as the church need to continue to adapt and change.

The first of these evenings is on the differences in generations. When you were born has a big influence on your values and priorities in life. Over the next three weeks I will be starting to explore this in a series of blog posts. The first of these today will introduce the different generations.


The Silent Generation Born 1925 – 1945

The Queen, Michael Caine


The Silent Generation was the generation born between the two World Wars, they were too young to join the service when World War II started, many had fathers who served in World War I.

Living through rationing and austerity, they believe in hard work with a waste-not, want-not mentality.

They are averse to debt, and with a strong belief in sticking to the rules and the importance of law and order.

Pre-feminism women; women stayed home generally to raise children, if they worked it was only certain jobs like teacher, nurse or secretary.

Men pledged loyalty to the corporation, once you got a job, you generally kept it for life.

Marriage is for life, divorce and having children out of wedlock were not accepted.

After the war they enjoyed near full employment plus rapidly improving schools for their children and free health care through the NHS.

They are avid readers, especially newspapers.

The Big-Band/Swing music generation.

Strong sense of trans-generational common values and near-absolute truths.

Disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious

They were the first gener­ation to contemplate early retirement and saw the class system begin to break down.

Baby Boomers Born 1946 – 1964

Tony Blair, Richard Branson


The Baby Boomers were the generation born just after World War II, a time that included a 14-year increase in birthrate worldwide commonly referred to as the baby boom. Baby Boomers in their teen and college years were characteristically part of the 1960s counterculture, but later became more conservative. And their kids were the first generation to reject the values of their parents in an explosion of new music, art and lifestyles. “Rock and roll” music generation.

Baby Boomers enjoyed free student grants, low house prices and they now hold the reins of power and have the most economic clout.

In 2004 Baby Boomers held 80% of the UK’s wealth, much of it comes from property they own.

In the 1970s, they had to borrow only three times their salary to buy a home. Today’s generation need seven times.

Buy it now and use credit.

Too busy for much neighborly involvement yet strong desires to reset or change the common values for the good of all.

Even though their mothers were generally housewives, responsible for all child rearing, women of this generation began working outside the home in record numbers, thereby changing the entire nation as this was the first generation to have their own children raised in a two-income household where mom was not omnipresent.

The first TV generation.

The first divorce generation, where divorce was beginning to be accepted as a tolerable reality.

Optimistic, driven, team-oriented.

Tend to be more positive about authority, hierarchal structure and tradition.

Their aging will change the country almost incomprehensibly; they are the first generation to use the word “retirement” to mean being able to enjoy life after the children have left home. Instead of sitting in a rocking chair, they go skydiving, exercise and take up hobbies, which increases their longevity.

Generation X Born 1965 – 1980

Ant and Dec, Ed Miliband


The first wave left school in the early 1980s in an era of mass unemployment with the Cold War threatening nuclear annihilation.

They are more tolerant of different religions, races and sexual orientations and more adaptable – one member of Britpop band Blur became a Labour councillor and one is a cheese-making farmer.

Entrepreneurial. Very individualistic.

Government and big business mean little to them.

Want to save the neighborhood, not the world.

Cynical of many major institutions, which failed their parents, or them, during their formative years and are therefore eager to make marriage work and ‘be there’ for their children.

Desire a chance to learn, explore and make a contribution.

Tend to commit to self rather than an organisation or specific career. This generation averages 7 career changes in their lifetime, it was not normal to work for a company for life, unlike previous generations.

Late to marry (after cohabitation) and quick to divorce…many single parents.

Want what they want and want it now but struggling to buy, and most are deeply in credit card debt.

Cautious, skeptical, unimpressed with authority, self-reliant.

Boomerang Generation is one of several terms applied to the current generation of young adults in Western culture, so named for the frequency with which they choose to live with their parents after a brief period of living alone.

Generation Y Born 1981 – 2000

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Adele


Also known as the Millenials and generation ‘Why?’, this generation has never known economic good times and with little hope of buying a home, many rely on mum and dad.

Jobs are low-paid and last for an average 15 months compared to more than 10 years for Baby Boomers.

The majority, 60%, believe they will be worse off than their parents’ generation.

But they have also resolved to achieve a better work-life balance after seeing those parents work day and night at stressful jobs to maintain a successful llfestyle.

Generation Y has been shaped by the technology revolution that saw computers, tablets and the web become central to work and life, giving them a skills edge over their elders.

They are nurtured by omnipresent parents, optimistic, and focused.

Respect authority.

They schedule everything.

They feel enormous academic pressure.

Prefer digital literacy as they grew up in a digital environment. Have never known a world without computers! They get all their information and most of their socialization from the Internet.

Prefer to work in teams.

With unlimited access to information tend to be assertive with strong views.

Envision the world as a 24/7 place; want fast and immediate processing.

They have been told over and over again that they are special, and they expect the world to treat them that way.

They do not live to work, they prefer a more relaxed work environment with a lot of hand holding and accolades.

Generation Z Born after 2001

Malala Yousafzai, Nick D’Aloisio


The oldest Gen Z child was six at the time of the 9/11 terror attacks.

They are growing up amid “chaos, uncertainty, volatility and complexity”.

But they are also hailed as “the first tribe of true digital natives” or “screenagers”.

There are two billion Gen Z-ers worldwide and they are socially-aware self-starters, more driven but less self-involved than their elders. 72% want to start their own firms.

They say they prefer saving to spending and they drink and smoke cannabis less than earlier generations.

They have fewer fights at school and less risky sex. In fact they have learned all the lessons their elders took a lifetime to understand.

They have never known a world without computers and mobile/smart phones.

Have Eco-fatigue: they are actually tired of hearing about the environment and the many ways we have to save it.

With the advent of computers and web based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. Many companies have suffered because of it, most recognizable is Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls. In the 1990’s the average age of a child in their target market was 10 years old, and in 2000 it dropped to 3 years old. As children reach the age of four and five, old enough to play on the computer, they become less interested in toys and begin to desire electronics such as smart phones, tablets and video games.

They are savvy consumers and they know what they want and how to get it and they are over saturated with brands.



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