Following The Trends
What generation(s) matter? Well, from an aging perspective it is the silent and baby boomer generation. From a mass choice and power side it is the millennials and generation X. Right now the older generations are very easy to track from a consumer spending side. They move in mega trends - or have moved in mega purchasing trends - like marriage, housing and vacation styles.
I must admit, being born in 1980 makes me a bit of an eye roller when it comes to strong stereotypical examples inside older U.S. generations. I find die hard baby boomers and the silent generation to be particularly annoying in my situation.
"Silents" are called that because many focused on their careers rather than on activism, and people in it were largely encouraged to conform with social norms -Wikipedia.
It is important to note that the "Silent' generation never produced a United States president.
As for the boomers and consumer class - These are the guys yelling in public about the price of their new boat dock. Who brags about spending money?
Maybe they use slang like Hemingway characters, or talk about killing people during the war with their bare hands for the old America, not the new. There is a chance they are heavy adherents to the car culture, which I am against for economic and environmental reasons. I never understood the idea of being prompted to buy a car because of an advertisement. Maybe these types buy cars every year - and not just sedans or sports cars - they buy trucks and vehicles that weight four tons. After all oil is good right?
They likely are late bloomers to technology (this is a fact generally, as they did not have tech in the 60's and 70's for the most part,) so they may send your picture out to 10,000 people by accident, or perhaps because they are thrilled at the new technology and the infinite possibilities it seems to bring (like doing things that are incredibly out of touch). They may complain about the younger generations use of technology, which no doubt is a useful way of escaping lock-ins with older generations, and saved the new generations from becoming drab old coots like the older generations.
There is also a chance they were heavily influenced by advertising, which means they were scammed into conspicuous consumption and consumerism that has plagued America, and then on top of it all, created a false system of values built around conspicuous consumption and mass consumerism. Those values may even be the very reason for the subculture inside the baby boomer generation called Generation Jones. Roll your eyes even harder on that one - for there lay the braggarts of America - assuming they "made it" based upon their marketed and pre-packaged ideology.
Yes, the new generations will show the old that there is more to life than conspicuous consumption.
Regardless, take a look at the chart below.
Also, read (a former professor of mine):
The Myth of the Middle Class - by Richard Parker (Amazon Link)
Western world generation break down:
For the purposes of this list, "Western world" can be taken to include the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. However, it should also be noted that many variations may exist within the regions, both geographically and culturally, which means that the list is broadly indicative, but necessarily very general. For details see the individual articles.
The Lost Generation, also known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term originating with Gertrude Stein to describe those who fought in World War I. The members of the lost generation were typically born between 1883 and 1900.
The G.I. Generation, also known as the "Greatest Generation'", is the generation that includes the veterans who fought in World War I. They were born from around 1901 to 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression. Journalist Tom Brokaw dubbed this the Greatest Generation in a book of the same name.
The Silent Generation, also known as the Lucky Few, were born from approximately 1925 to 1941.
It includes some who fought in World War II, most of those who fought the Korean War and many during the Vietnam War.
The baby boomers are the generation that was born following World War II, generally from 1946 to 1964,a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates. The term "baby boomer" is sometimes used in a cultural context.
Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation following the baby boomers. Demographers and researchers typically use starting birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960s and ending birth years ranging from the late 1970s to early 1980s. The term has also been used in different times and places for a number of different subcultures or countercultures since the 1950s.
Millennials, also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X. Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and ending birth years ranging from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.