Generational differences may never have been more apparent than they have been with modern-day technology, particularly social media. Lo and behold, we have the ‘Zillennial’, a term the internet has coined to capture a subset of our society that doesn’t really fit into the other pre-defined generations.
So what exactly is a Zillennial and, while we’re here, how does it fit in amongst the other generations?
A guide to the generations
A lot of the generations vary from year to year depending on the sources you consult, but for this article, we’ve gone to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which defines our youngest generation, or Generation Alpha, as being born anywhere between 2011 and now.
Given that they’re all still so young, it’s hard to say what the defining traits of Generation Alpha will be. As the children of millennials, a lot of them are online from birth, and many of them have been impacted by remote learning due to the pandemic.
Gen Z encapsulates anyone born between 1996 and 2010. Research on Gen Z has shown that as a generation, they are more diverse in terms of identity and sexuality, and are true digital natives, with many unable to remember a time before the internet.
Millennial (aka Gen Y)
Gen Y, more commonly known as Millennials, are those born between 1981 and 1995. In terms of traits, Forbes found Millennials to be technology-based, health-focused and socially conscious as a generation. The ABS also found that more millennials are waiting longer to get married and are more likely to study and pursue education than previous generations.
You’re considered part of Gen X if you’re born between the years of 1966 and 1980. Some of the defining traits of Gen X are that they are independent, cynical and generally have a “work hard, play hard” mentality.
The Baby Boomers
The Baby Boomers contains those born between 1946 and 1965. The generation is named such because of the baby boom in the mid-20th century that was a by-product of the end of the Second World War.
Baby Boomers are described as having strong work ethics, being competitive and valuing things like quality and excellence, in both their personal and professional lives.
The Silent Generation/Traditionalists
The oldest living group we currently have dates back to 1945 or older. The Silent Generation is known for being loyal, which also makes them firmly attached to their beliefs and values in relationships, families and careers.
What about Zillennials?
Then we come to something like Zillennial, an internet term that helps us make sense of the in-betweeners among all these generations. Essentially, a Zillennial is categorised as those who are born on the cusp of Millennial and Gen Z, so anywhere in the 1990 to 2000 era.
Those in this group find themselves relating to characteristics in both generations, but never wholly feel like they fit into either one.
You might have seen the word go viral on TikTok lately, which is where many of the said Zillennials found a term that finally represented them. If you want to test whether you’re a Zillennial, Buzzfeed has the (very serious) answer.
If you’re interested in reading more about the gap between groups, here’s a grim comparison of who is better off in Australia.
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