Charles Schwab explores the mystery behind 'Generation X'


If you were born between 1961 and 1981, you have probably heard the name "Generation X." The title of a novel by Douglas Coupland, a band fronted by Billy Idol, and a groundbreaking sociology textbook, "Generation X" also became the moniker slapped on the generational cohort that was bookended by the demographic wave of the baby boomers and the coddled generation comprised of the baby boom's children. In other words, Generation X was the neglected "middle child" of the late twentieth century: undereducated, over medicated, and generally pissed off, this group has become famous for its unwillingness to allow itself to be defined or demographically manipulated. It's also fairly well-known for its tendency to live in Mom and Dad's basement well into its thirties.

Over the years, marketers, demographers, and pundits have refused to leave Generation X alone, choosing instead to constantly poke and prod at it, seeking to uncover a generational identity that could be placed in opposition to the Woodstock generation, presumably as a lead-in to an inter-generational caged fight that would pit boomer selfishness against X-er self-loathing and the boomer "cause of the moment" mentality against Gen X's supposed apathy.