Generations are not created by happenstance. Nor are they designated purely by a rigid range of years. Generations are formed, says Frank N. Magid Associates in an introduction to the Pluralist Generation by Magid Generational Strategies. A generation is formed by a gestation of discernible patterns of demographic shifts, societal factors (a combination of the unique aspects of the society of their upbringing and historical events experienced at a similar age and life stage), and parenting styles, leading to the distinct mindsets that notably separate one generation from another.
Once the core tenets of a generation are discovered, analyzed and synthesized, a name surfaces that encompasses the generation in both its distinct mindsets and the impact it will have on society.
According to the report:
• The Silent Generation (born 1924-1945)
got their name from their cautious and withdrawn natures, even in their youth, and for stoically refining the G.I.s’ grandiose plans.
• The Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964)
was a cultural phenomenon of skyrocketing birth rates and economic growth in post-World War II America.
• Generation X (1965-1976)
the latchkey kids, represented the anxiety of that time and how that angst crystallized into a distinct, cynically pragmatic mindset for members of that generation.
• The Millennial Generation (1977-1996)
the first generation of increasing power in the Twenty-First Century, was the result of a second baby boom during a time of unparalleled focus on the health and well-being of children.
It’s been nearly 15 years since the Millennials were so named, says the report. Since then, a new generation has been born and we have seen significant changes in all facets of society. The research has recognized the demographic patterns, parenting styles and societal factors shaping the next generation.
• The continual erosion of dominant media
• The rapid emergence of fragmented and niche-based voices
• The power of ground-up consensus building
• The bold contrast of Gen X and Baby Boomer parenting styles
• The growing conflicts surrounding demographic changes
• The second-longest economic decline in U.S. history
Now, says the report, this newly named generation, the Plurals, are the most ethnically diverse generation to-date. Currently only 55% of Plurals are Caucasian, compared to 72% among Baby Boomers.
The proportion of Caucasians in America will continue to diminish, creating a pluralistic society, one in which there isn’t a majority ethnicity or race. In 2019, live births in America will be less than 50% Caucasian, making the Pluralist Generation the last generation with a Caucasian majority. In 2042, the entire population will be less than 50% Caucasian and America will literally become a pluralistic society.
Plurals, as members of this generation will be known, are:
• America’s last generation with a Caucasian majority
• The most positive about America becoming more ethnically diverse
• Existing in the most diverse social circles
• The least likely to believe in the “American Dream”
• Beginning to reflect the Gen X parenting style in their mindset
• Affected by blended gender roles
Plurals have a more positive opinion than older generations about America becoming more ethnically diverse. Nearly half of Plurals say it’s a positive thing and only one in nine think it’s negative. Overall, Americans use “hopeful” and “proud” to describe their opinion about this ethnic shift, which suggests welcoming and favorable attitudes. Plurals too are “hopeful” and “proud,” but are also more likely than adult generations to say “pleased” and “energized,” which suggests an eagerness and willingness to take on their imminent responsibility of ushering in this change.
The four-decade decline of traditional two-parent households in America adds to the diverse environment Plurals are growing up in. The family unit, the most micro social circle for anyone, is experiencing its own metamorphosis, says the report. On average, about two in three Plurals live in a two-parent household, a decline from what Millennials (three in four) and Generation X (four in five) experienced at a similar age.