Generation Z refers to the cohort of people born after the Millennial Generation. There is no agreement on the name or exact range of birth dates. Some sources start this generation at the mid or late 1990s or from the mid 2000s to the present day.
Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote several popular books on the subject of generations and are widely credited with coining the term Millennials. Howe has said "No one knows who will name the next generation after the Millennials". In 2005, their company sponsored an online contest in which respondents voted overwhelmingly for the name Homeland Generation. That was not long after the September 11th terrorist attacks, and one fallout of the disaster was that Americans may have felt more safe staying at home. Howe has described himself as "not totally wed" to it though and cautioned that "names are being invented by people who have a great press release. Everyone is looking for a hook." Strauss and Howe define the Homeland Generation as people born from the year 2005 to the present day.
In 2012, USA Today sponsored an online contest for readers to choose the name of the next generation after the Millennials. In the article, journalist Bruce Horovitz wrote that some might call the term "Generation Z" rather "off-putting" and a name that is "still in-the-running". Some alternate names were proposed including: iGeneration, Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Gen Next, Post Gen, and Plurals.
In 2014, Pew Research Center sponsored a contest to name the next generation after the Millennials. Names proposed include: the TwoKays or 2K's (born after 2000), the Conflict Generation (the generation that grew up during the time of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan), Generation i (or iGeners and iGens), @generation, the Swipe Generation, the Tweennials, and Screeners.
iGeneration (also abbreviated as iGen) is a name that several individuals claim to have coined. Psychology professor and author Jean Twenge claims that the name iGen "just popped into her head" while she was driving near Silicon Valley, and that she had intended to use it as the title of her 2006 book Generation Me but was overridden by her publisher. Demographer Cheryl Russell claims to have first used the term in 2009.
Matt Carmichael, a past director of data strategy at Ad Age, said in 2012 "we think iGen is the name that best fits and will best lead to understanding of this generation". In 2014, an NPR news intern noted that iGeneration "seems to be winning" as the name for the post-Millennials. It has been described as "a wink and nod to Apple's iPod and iPhone", while former Ad Age writer Matt Carmichael notes that the lowercase "i" in iGeneration "leaves room for interpretation" and "could be any number of things: It could be for interactive, it could be for international, it could be for something we haven't thought of yet."
The Pluralist Generation (also abbreviated as Plurals) is a name coined by marketing firm Frank N. Magid Associates. According to Magid, the name "Plurals" reflects that they are the most diverse of any generation in the U.S.; Magid estimates that 55% are Caucasian, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American, 4% are Asian, and 4% are mixed race or other. A Magid whitepaper stated that Plurals exhibit positive feelings about the increasing ethnic diversity in the U.S., and they are more likely than older generations to have social circles that include people from different ethnic groups, races and religions. According to Magid, Plurals are "the least likely to believe that there is such a thing as the American Dream," while Boomers and their Millennial children are "more likely to believe it".
- Horovitz, Bruce (May 4, 2012). "After Gen X, Millennials, what should next generation be?". USA Today. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
- Jeanine Poggi (26 February 2013). "Nickelodeon Targets 'Post-Millennials' in Upfront". Advertising Age. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2008). Millennials & K-12 Schools. LifeCourse Associates. pp. 109–111. ISBN 0971260656.
- Howe, Neil (October 27, 2014). "Introducing the Homeland Generation (Part 1 of 2)". Forbes. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- Junco, Reynol; Mastrodicasa, Jeanna (2007). Connecting to the Net.Generation: What higher education professionals need to know about today’s students. NASPA. ISBN 9780931654480.
- Samantha Raphelson (6 October 2014). "From GIs To Gen Z (Or Is It iGen?): How Generations Get Nicknames". NPR. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Frank N. Magid Associates. "The First Generation of the Twenty First Century." April 30, 2012
- Hais, Michael and Morley Winograd. "A New Generation Debuts: Plurals." Huffington Post, May 7, 2012
- DeBord, Mathew. "A new generation gets a name: Plurals." DeBord Report. April 30, 2012
- Palfrey, John; Gasser, Urs (2008). Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. Basic Books.
- McCrindle, Mark; Wolfinger, Emily (2014). The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations. McCrindle Research.