Generation X is the term used to describe the age demographic born after the baby boomer generation of the 1940’s and 50’s. This generation has their birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960’s all the way up till the 80’s, but there are no exact dates. Often dubbed the “latchkey generation” because of the increased divorce rates and women entering the workforce in greater numbers. These are all contributing factors to the many Generation X characteristics.

In 2010 the U.S. Census reported approximately 84 million people were Gen Xers. One of the noted Generation X characteristics is the declining birth rates compared to their Baby Boomers counterparts. A theory about the cause of these declining birth rates from the 1960’s and 1970’s is the invention of the birth control pill that was introduced in the early 1960’s. Many women joining the work force with the introduction of daycare services and just out of necessity many of these children were left with inadequate adult supervision and become more self-reliant at an early age.

Generation X Characteristics: Education

Generation X characteristics are shaped by the fact that this generation are considered to be one of the best educated populations in history, with Over 60 percent of their population having attended college. This increase in education coincides with the shift from a manufacturing-based workforce to a service-based one. Because of their upbringing another Generation X characteristic is that they are more independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. These are all important to the change in the new economical shift. It should be noted though that many Gen Xer’s dislike being micro-managed and have a clear disdain for structured work hours, preferring a hands-off management style. Many Gen Xer’s having seen the struggles of their parents don’t retain the same sense of company loyalty as Baby Boomers, often leaving positions and companies for better opportunities

Generation X Characteristics: Technology

Like many of the other Generation X characteristics Gen Xer’s have that are used in the workplace their familiarity with technology has been a great boon to them as workers. Having grown up as the first generation with technology has made them more comfortable at using it and have adapted to the changes it has brought to the work place. Generation X characteristically are extremely capable with the uses of smart devices, laptops, tablets, email and many other technologies that has become everyday necessities in the work place.

This understanding of technology has also made them “nerds”. Many of the most prominent and influential websites like YouTube, Amazon, Google, were created by Gen Xer’s. This Generation X characteristic of creativity doesn’t just stop and websites but many popular Authors, Actors, Artist, Scientists and even Designers are Gen Xer’s. The creativity on this generation has brought many great moments of entertainment, new fashions, and new understanding of how the world works to everyone.

Generation X Characteristics: Work

Lastly one of the most important Generation X characteristics that can be seen is that Generation X works to live, not live to work. As of 2010 their assets were statistically double that of their debts. Compared to Baby Boomers whose assets were 27 times more than their debts. True inflation has an impact, but this still shows that Gen Xer’s appreciate their free time and are more willing to spend money to make the most of it. Epitomizing the work hard/play hard mentality.  This doesn’t mean that Generation X is lazy, far from it, they have seen the largest number of startups and new business in history. In 2015 Gen Xers launched 55 percent of all the new businesses started that year. By showing to have and to share the Entrepreneurial spirit of small business this generation is set as a new focal point for all future small businesses to aspire to be like.

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