Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

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By Annette Kurman

1140 boomers at 70 kathleen casey kirschling birthday cake
First boomer Kathleen Casey-Kirschling: “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.” Photo/Poon Watchara-Amphaiwan for AARP.


I hope I die before I get old,” sang Roger Daltrey in The Who’s 1965 rock classic “My Generation.” Original member, drummer Keith Moon, accomplished just that, dying of a drug overdose at age 32 in 1978, while The Who’s bassist, John Entwistle, died of a drug-induced heart attack at age 57 in 2002. Pete Townshend and Daltry, however, are both going strong.

I remember some years ago when the media celebrated New Jersey’s Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, who was considered to be the nation’s first baby boomer, when she was expected to formally apply for Social Security benefits in anticipation of her 62nd birthday on January 1, 2008.

Born just after midnight on January 1, 1946, she was considered the head of the 79-million baby boomer class born between 1946 to 1964.

“As the nation’s first Baby Boomer, Ms. Casey-Kirschling is leading what is often referred to as America’s silver tsunami.” Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said in a statement at the time. “Over the next two decades, nearly 80 million Americans will become eligible for Social Security benefits, more than 10,000 per day.” 

Local media and New Hampshire officials have often referred to the older median age of Granite Staters (43 years old) and its own boomer “silver tsunami” affecting families, retirement, housing, healthcare, transportation, and all sorts of other products and services now and in the future.

According to the NH Center for Public Policy Studies, by the year 2020, “New Hampshire’s shift towards an increasingly older population will reach a peak, and by 2030, nearly half a million Granite Staters will be over the age of 65, representing almost one-third of the population.”

In fact, in 2024 New Hampshire ranks only behind Maine as having the oldest median-age residents; yes, even older than Florida!

  1. Maine 44.8 Years Old
  2. New Hampshire 43 Years Old
  3. Vermont 42.8 Years Old
  4. West Virginia 42.7 Years Old
  5. Florida 42.2 Years Old

Youngest States
    47. North Dakota 35.2 Years Old
    48. Texas 34.8 Years Old
    49. Alaska 34.6 Years Old
    50. Utah 31.1 Years Old

Okay, we’re baby boomers. But what about the generations that came before us and those that follow us? Who was responsible for naming us all?

According to the whole social science thing, U.S. generations are social groups of people born within a defined time period that share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences.

It was American writer Gertrude Stein who referred to those born around the turn of the 20th century and devoted their lives to service during World War I as the “Lost Generation.”

As for the other generations? Generational theorists Neil Howe and William Strauss are typically credited with identifying and naming U.S. 20th-century generations in their 1991 book, “Generations.” Most of the labels remained, though the dates that define them are often flexible.

The two historians recognized the generation that fought World War II as the G.I. (short for “Government Issue”) Generation, but that name would be replaced less than a decade later when Tom Brokaw published “The Greatest Generation,” a best-selling cultural history of the Great Depression and World War II; that name is still used today.

And it was Canadian Douglas Coupland, born at the tail end of the Baby Boom in 1961, who named the generation that followed his own. Coupland’s 1991 book “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture” and later works reported the lives of 20-somethings and came to be seen as an accurate representation of that era’s youth. Unknowingly, Coupland permanently named Gen X.

(Howe and Strauss also suggested the name “Thirteeners” for the 13th generation born since the American Revolution) for Generation X, but the term never caught on.)

The generations following Generation X were often referred to as Generation Y by media outlets in the early 1990s. But by the mid-90s, amid the turmoil about the turn to the 21st century, this generation became known as Millennials.

The name for the next generation was even more inconsistent. Some preferred Generation Z, continuing the alphabetical trend begun with Generation X, while others fancied more elaborate titles like Centennials, iGeneration, or the New Silent Generation. 

So the generational groups in the U.S. from 1900 on are as follows:

  • 2010 to 2024: Generation Alpha*
  • 2000 to 2010: Generation Z (Or New Silent Generation, Generational Kinetics’ or iGen, or Centennials
  • 1980 to 2000: Millennials or Generation Y
  • 1965 to 1979: Generation X or Thirteeners
  • 1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers
  • 1925 to 1945: the Silent Generation (or Traditionalists for those born 1945 or before, per the Center for Generational Kinetics)
  • 1900 to 1924: the G.I. Generation 

It was Australian researcher Mark McCrindle who was responsible for naming our youngest cohort, which others left out and/or failed to update (or forgot), calling them Generation Alpha.

Why Generation Alpha? In his book, McCrindle refers to the children of millennials as “alpha,” the first generation born entirely in the 21st century, marking a fresh start for the economy, political climate, environment, and more. And guess what? They never knew a non-digital world, whereas we can remember taking typing class using real typewriters and carbon paper to make copies. Wonder what they’ll call the generation following them? Generation Beta?

Baby Boomer Generation: Born 1946–1964

Gen Z may think of Baby Boomers as their out-of-touch grandparents, but our generation actually had a wild youth. Remember? Named for the population “boom” that occurred after WWII, many Boomers defied our parents, protested the Vietnam War, and created the “Summer of Love.”

The term Baby Boomer first appeared in a 1941 issue of LIFE Magazine in an article detailing the dramatic spike in births following the Great Depression and the Peacetime Draft of 1940.

But wait, we have a “microgeneration,” or Generation Jones, those born between 1954 and 1965, according to a term coined by American cultural commentator Jonathan Pontell.

Unlike the other groups listedGeneration Jones is considered a “microgeneration,” or a group of individuals born at the end of one generation and the beginning of another. We were children during Watergate, the oil crisis, and stagflation rather than during the 1950s, and never knew a world without television. According to Pontell, the title describes the competition these individuals felt with the Baby Boomers and the sense that they needed to continue “keeping up with the Joneses.” 

Time Magazine first introduced the term “Silent Generation” — those born between 1928 and 1945 (age 78 and older) — in a 1951 article that read, “By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers and mothers, today’s younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestoes, make speeches, or carry posters.” Born into great uncertainty, individuals from this group were often written off as unimaginative and withdrawn. 

The silent generation famously got their name for being so conformist they were silent through the McCarthy era when the fear of Communism seized the country, when kids were expected to earn their way through life using a strong work ethic.

However, many of our favorite songwriters and performer, those rock and rollers we continue to love today, are not members of the Baby Boomer generation; they reside in the Silent Generation category.

Consider the ages of those we still love today:

Age 90: Willie Nelson is 90 (4/29/33).
Age 87: Kris Kristofferson is 87 (6/22/36)
Age 82:  Bob Dylan (8/14/41), Paul Simon (10/13/41), Art Garfunkel (11/5/41)
Age 81:  Carole King (2/9/42), Brian Wilson (6/20/42)
Age 80:  Mick Jagger (7/26/43), Roger Waters (9/6/43), Steve Miller (10/5/43), Joni Mitchell (11/7/43), Keith Richards (12/18/43), Jimmy Page (1/9/44)
Age 79:  Roger Daltry (3/1/44), John Sebastian (3/17/44), Ray Davies (6/21/44), Peter Asher (6/22/44), Rod Stewart (1/10/45)
Age 78:  Eric Clapton (3/30/45), Bob Seger (5/6/45), Pete Townshend (5/19/45), John Fogerty (5/28/45), Debbie Harry (7/1/45), Van Morrison (8/31/45), JD Southern (11/2/45)
Age 74:  Billy Joel (5/9/49), Mark Knopfler (8/12/49), Bruce Springsteen (9/23/49), Bonnie Raitt (11/8/49)

Remember the saying “Don’t trust anyone over age 30?” The aging Boomer update is attributed to Professor Mary Ann Wynkoop: “Some aging Boomers are now more likely to mutter under their breath, ‘Don’t trust anyone under thirty.’

So it goes.

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Annette Kurman can be reached at

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About this Author

Annette Kurman

A native of Philadelphia with baccalaureate degrees in journalism, nursing, as well as an MBA from now defunct Daniel Webster College, Nashua, her endeavors in various roles and industries — as well a very supportive husband — once again bring her to the question of “What do I want to do when I grow up?”