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The social and political activist generation of the baby boomers was followed by the more apathetic and uninvolved Generation X. While the baby boomers came from a period of accelerated birthrates, Generation X was part of a “baby bust” Compared to 78 million baby boomers, there are only about 51 members of Generation X.
For two generations that occurred one after the other, the generation of the baby boomers and the Generation X members have a great many differences and certainly experienced very different worlds. These two adjacent generations also have quite different expectations and attitudes.
Baby boomers were so named by journalist and book author Landon Jones because they actually do represent a large upswing in the rate of births that occurred in postwar America and many other parts of the world. In 1946, the birthrate took a 22% increase over the year prior and this steep rise was sustained until after 1964.
The first group of baby boomers who are now between 55 and 64 are being called both alpha boomers and golden boomers. Alpha boomers are so named because of the power they command in various industries and professions as well as in diplomacy and politics. The younger group is sometimes called the Jones Generation after the author Landon Jones.
Generation X is quite a bit smaller than the baby boomers, numbering only about 51 million members compared to the estimated 78 million members of the boomers. Some have as a result referred to Generation X as the “baby bust generation.” While the decline in birthrate obviously began in 1965, no one is exactly sure when to end Generation X and when to start Generation Y. Some end Gen X, as it is often abbreviated, in 1977, others in 1980, and even some as late as 1982.
As many of the members of Generation X are the children of the large baby boom generation, a person might have expected this group to be larger rather than smaller. However, baby boomers themselves often chose to have smaller families than their parents and grandparents had. An awareness of overpopulation was a factor for baby boomers who decided to comply with zero population growth and only have one or two children per couple.
Much of the social and political turmoil of the baby boomers generation had settled down by the time Generation X was growing up. Integration of public schools and other public institutions was a fact of life rather than a controversy. There was much less upheaval over the first Gulf War that Generation X experienced than there had been over the Vietnam War. As a consequence, Generation X is often considered to be as apathetic about politics as the baby boomers were considered activists.