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Many researchers and popular media use birth years from 1977 to 1983 to define the Xennial generation according to CDC Vital statistics records There are 24,715,275 million Xennials born In the United States between 1977 and 1983. These years are chosen because they mark the end of Generation X and the beginning of the Millennial generation. Xennials are characterized by their unique experience of straddling the line between these two major generational cohorts. They had an analog childhood and a digital young adulthood, experiencing the shift from traditional forms of communication and entertainment to the digital age during their formative years. This specific date range reflects the idea that Xennials were born during the cusp of Generation X and the early years of the Millennial generation, sharing some cultural and technological experiences with both groups.
Xennial, n. and adj.: “A person born between the late 1970s and early 1980s, after (or towards the end of) Generation X and before (or at the beginning of) the millennial”
Terminology and birth year definitions
Xennials is a portmanteau that combines the words Generation X and Millennials to describe a "micro-generation" or "crossover generation" of individuals born between the late 1970s and the early 1980s. 
The term Xennials was coined by writer Sarah Stankorb and was introduced in a two-part article in GOOD magazine in September 2014. GOOD magazine The article was co-authored by Stankorb, a freelance writer, and then-GOOD magazine staff writer Jed Oelbaum. GOOD magazine has described Xennials as "a micro-generation that acts as a bridge between the disaffection of Generation X and the blithe optimism of Millennials." It's important to note that Australian sociologist Dan Woodman was mistakenly credited with coining the term, but he clarified that he did not invent it. The earliest documented use of the term Xennial can be traced back to the 2014 GOOD article, in which Stankorb introduced the term.
In 2017, Xennial was featured in Merriam-Webster's "Words We're Watching" section, which highlights new words that are increasingly in use but haven't yet met the criteria for dictionary inclusion. Merriam-Webster Dictionary credited Stankorb with coining the term.
In 2020, Xennial was included in the Oxford Dictionary of English, with the definition being "a member of an age group born after Generation X and before the millennial generation, specifically in the late 1970s and early 1980s." Xennials gained more attention in June 2017 following a viral Facebook post by Mashable.
A career guide for Xennials was released by Indeed.com in 2022, marking the first time a major job search site acknowledged the Xennial micro-generation. The article emphasizes the unique characteristics of Xennials and defines them as people born between 1977 and 1983. The guide highlights the strengths and challenges of Xennials in the workplace.
It's worth mentioning that other terms, such as the Star Wars Generation, Oregon Trail Generation, and Generation Catalano, have also been proposed. Doree Shafrir, writing for Slate magazine, chose "Generation Catalano" for its reference to the character Jordan Catalano, played by Jared Leto (born in 1971), from the 1994-95 teen drama My So-Called Life. She defined "Generation Catalano" as those born from 1977 to 1981, during Jimmy Carter's presidency.
The commonly accepted year range for Xennials, typically spanning from 1977 to 1983, is based on the idea that this generation sits on the cusp of Generation X and the Millennial generation. This range is not only rooted in demographic research, but also widely recognized in pop culture and media. However, it's important to acknowledge that some individuals who fall slightly outside this range may relate to the Xennial experience, as they too witnessed the rapid transition from analog to digital technologies. While they may feel a connection to the traits and experiences shared by Xennials, it's worth noting that the essence of Xennials lies in their unique position as the bridge between two distinct generations. They were the first children to encounter Computers in the classroom (this version), often with monochrome Apple II and Apple IIe computers, during the 1980s, embodying the transformative shift from analog to digital. While others may share some characteristics, it's this small group's specific experiences that make Xennials a distinctive micro-generation, capturing the essence of growing up in a rapidly changing world.
While it's not uncommon for individuals to identify with traits bridging the characteristics and experiences of Generation X and Millennials, Xennials hold a distinct position as the last generation to experience childhood in an analog world and the first to come of age in the digital era. This unique vantage point sets them apart.
Characteristics and traits
The Generation X and Millennial demographic cohorts have been studied concerning generational differences in the workplace. Researchers out of Eindhoven University of Technology found that not every person that belongs to a major generation will share all the same characteristics that are representative for that generation. People that are born on the cusp of a birth cohort may have overlapping characteristics that are related to both. This concept is called "generational fuzziness", and can lead to the formation of a "microgeneration". Researcher Melissa Kempf Taylor of the University of Louisville has written that the current microgeneration in the workforce is the Xennial generation, who have their own collective personality. "In generational theory, a cusp is the group of individuals who fall into the overlap between two generations. [...] This overlap creates a cusp generation" which bridges the divide between "major generations".
In 2004, Cynthia Cheng wrote a piece for the Toronto Star entitled "My So-Called Generation", where she referred to the cohort as "Bridges".
Cassie McClure, writing for Las Cruces Sun-News, described those in the Oregon Trail Generation as "remembering a time before the digital age, but barely". Anna Garvey has described these individuals as having "both a healthy portion of Gen X grunge cynicism, and a dash of the unbridled optimism of Millennials", and discusses their relationship with both analog and digital technology. Sheknows.com has described individuals born in the late 1970s and early 1980s as sharing traits with both Generation X and Millennials.
Anna Garvey characterized U.S. members of this group as having had an "AOL adolescence" and as being from "the last gasp of a time before sexting, Facebook shaming, and constant communication". Dustin Monke of The Dickinson Press described those born in the early 1980s as having early adulthoods which were impacted by the events of the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War. Sarah Stankorb has also pointed out that most Xennials were already on the job market when the Great Recession hit.
"There are common experiences," explains Almudena Moreno, sociologist at the University of Valladolid and co-author of the Youth Report in Spain 2012, "and one of the differences between generations can be access to technological instruments, which provide a common living context." This context also influences how we relate to others. According to Australian sociologist, Dan Woodman, "[t]he theory goes that the Xennials dated, and often formed ongoing relationships, pre-social media. They usually weren't on Tinder or Grindr, for their first go at dating at least. They called up their friends and the person they wanted to ask out on a landline phone, hoping that it wasn't their intended date's parent who picked up." Woodman has referred to Xennials as a "cross-over generation" crediting this concept to journalists writing about individuals born during the cusp years, saying that this idea sounds plausible with respect to generations because "the divisions we use aren’t particularly robust. They tend to be imported from North America without much thought, built arbitrarily around the Boomers, and capture changes that often don’t have clear inflection points, so dates can vary." However, he warns that an entire cohort of people will not have one set of characteristics or experiences. Woodman also says: "Clearly the idea resonates with a lot of people who felt left out by the usual categorizations." This does not mean that these terms have no value. As Woodman explains, paraphrasing philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, "we are formed by the time in which we live", especially by the experiences of our youth, "which determine our lives and can create new political movements".
- Vital Statistics of the United States, 1981 - CDC https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsus/nat81_1.pdf
- Merriam-Webster. "Words We're Watching: 'Xennial'". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
- Ryan W. Miller (20 December 2018). "Are you a Xennial? How to tell if you're the microgeneration between Gen X and Millennial". USA Today. Retrieved 26 October 2023.
- "Updates to the OED New words list December 2021". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. December 2021. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
- "If you were born between 1977 and 1983, there's a new name for you". Mamamia. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Chase, Ashley Krenelka (2018). "Upending the Double Life of Law Schools: Millennials in the Legal Academy". University of Dayton Law Review. 44: 1. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3167442.
- Woodman, Dan (12 July 2017). "From Boomers to Xennials: we love talking about our generations, but must recognise their limits". The Conversation. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
- Shafrir, Doree (24 October 2011). "Generation Catalano". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
- Wertz, Jia. "Analog and Digital: Xennials Present A Unique Opportunity For Marketers". Forbes. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
- "Reasonable People Disagree about the Post-Gen X, Pre-Millennial Generation - GOOD". www.good.is. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
- Dietsche, Lucas (21 March 2017). Since We Left the Oregon Trail:: Poems for the Xennial Generation. ISBN 978-1544845494.
- Stankorb, Sarah; Oelbaum, Jed (25 September 2014). "Reasonable People Disagree about the Post-Gen X, Pre-Millennial Generation". Good Magazine. Good Worldwide. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "I Made Up Xennial 3 Years Ago, So Why Is a Professor in Australia Getting All the Credit?". Vogue. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- "Are you a xennial? Take the quiz". The Guardian. London. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
- "Xennial". Lexico. Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
- Vitto, Laura (30 June 2017). "Hey 30-somethings, you're a Xennial". Mashable. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
- Jennifer Herrity (30 September 2022). "Xennials: A Career Guide for the Xennial Generation". Indeed.com. Retrieved 26 October 2023.
- Garvey, Anna (21 May 2015). "Oregon Trail Generation". Mashable. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
- Shafrir, Doree (24 October 2011). "Generation Catalano". Slate. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Katie Dangerfield (6 July 2017). "Xennials: the generation sandwiched between gen-Xers and millennials". globalnews.ca. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
- Karin Eldor. "Xennials: An Integral Part of Your Organization". monster.ca. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
- Audrey Watters (25 February 2015). "How Steve Jobs Brought the Apple II to the Classroom". hackeducation.com. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
- LaFrance, Adrienne (3 February 2016). "How Generations Get Their Names". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Kendzior, Sarah (30 June 2016). "The myth of millennial entitlement was created to hide their parents' mistakes". Quartz. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Lyons, Sean; Kuron, Lisa (17 December 2013). "Generational differences in the workplace: A review of the evidence and directions for future research". Journal of Organizational Behavior. 35: S139–S157. doi:10.1002/job.1913.
- Appel-Meulenbroek, H.A.J.A.; Vosters, S.M.C. (2019). "Workplace needs and their support; are millennials different from other generations?" (PDF). Twenty Fifth Annual Pacific Rim Real Estate Society Conference. Melbourne. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2022. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- Taylor, Melissa Kempf (2018). "Xennials: a microgeneration in the workplace". Industrial and Commercial Training. 50 (3): 136–147. doi:10.1108/ICT-08-2017-0065.
- The article is no longer available directly from the Toronto Star website, but can be found on a So-Called Life forum and on her Instagram account.
- McClure, Cassie (20 May 2016). "My So-Called Millennial Life: Old West pioneers of digital age". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Garvey, Anna (21 April 2015). "The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before And After Mainstream Tech". Social Media Week. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Fogarty, Lisa (7 January 2016). "13 Signs you're stuck between Gen X & millennials". SheKnows. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Monke, Dustin (31 May 2015). "Monke: A generation stuck in transition". The Dickinson Press. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Stankorb, Sarah (6 July 2017). "I Made Up Xennial 3 Years Ago, So Why Is a Professor in Australia Getting All the Credit?". Vogue.
- Hancock, Jaimie Rubio (28 June 2017). "¿Naciste entre 1977 y 1983? Pues ni Generación X ni 'millennial', eres un 'xennial'". El Pais (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 24 January 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
'Hay vivencias comunes', explica a Verne Almudena Moreno, socióloga de la Universidad de Valladolid y coautora del Informe de la Juventud en España 2012, 'y una de las diferencias entre generaciones puede ser el acceso a los instrumentos tecnológicos, que proporcionan un contexto vivencial común'. Este contexto también influye en cómo nos relacionamos con los demás. [...] Esto no quiere decir que estos términos no tengan ningún valor. Como explica Woodman, parafraseando a José Ortega y Gasset, 'estamos formados por el tiempo en el que vivimos', especialmente por las experiencias de nuestra juventud, 'que determinan nuestras vidas y pueden crear nuevos movimientos políticos'.