Does Generation Jones Exist?

A recent article in USA Today has popularized the concept of a “Generation Jones” born between 1954 and 1965. The idea is that there is a generation between The Boomers (born 1943-1960) and Generation X (born 1961-1981) that has traits of both but does not really feel it belongs to either. Although the concept is gaining in popularity as many people born during the Jones timeframe feel it resonates with them, I wonder if the concept really has much value.
The dates I mention on this blog for the timing of generations is drawn from the work of Neil Howe and William Strauss, who are well known for their work on generations. Their landmark book “The Fourth Turning” gives clear definitions of the cycle of generations and how they have evolved in the US over the last 500 years (going back to England). The value of their research is partially in understanding our personal roots (“Oh, now I understand why my Boomer friend acts like that…”) but more importantly in understanding the direction of our society overall. My question about Generation Jones (and other divisions) is whether it helps in that effort or just confuses.
Here is a chart showing the roll of generations since 1900 (click on it for a bigger version):
According to Howe and Strauss, the marks between each generation are very clear and are based on their surveys of people born in these years. Each generation has a specific character, and these are shown on the chart by the various colors (the “archetype” for each of these generations is shown in the legend on the right). The concept is that, for the most part, each generation is about 20 years (give or take) and they follow each other in a specific pattern (Hero, Artist, Prophet, Nomad and so on). This pattern has (mostly) held true for the last 500 years of history, although some of the timeframes vary by a few years. If you accept this theory, at least in part, it allows you to extrapolate into the future based on the ages and attitudes of the generations that will be alive. I go into this concept further in my two presentations on turnings and generations (Part 1 and Part 2).
But it does seem fairly unlikely that EVERYONE born in 1961 would have an “X” attitude when compared with EVERYONE born in 1960, who would have a “Boomer” attitude. But I don’t think that is the point. Let’s look at an analogy.
In 1984 Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory in the race for the Presidency against Walter Mondale. Mondale got only 13 Electoral votes vs. 525 for Reagan, in what, I believe was the most lopsided victory in US History. But what was the Popular vote? The result was around 59% to 41%. Again a strong majority, but it does mean that over 37 Million people wanted Mondale to be president. Without going into how silly our electoral system is, I think there is a parallel to how we perceive the change in generations.
Let’s look at that chart again, but this time with Generation Jones put on top to show the span of years.
It falls fairly neatly in the span between Boomer and X’ers on Howe and Strauss’ system. There are probably many people in this period that feel like they favor either Boomer or X’er attitudes, or perhaps feel like they combine both. But the important thing is that a balance point is reached where over 50% of people would favor the attitude of one generation or the other. Just like in the 1984 elections, when grouped together this slight shift in the balance can have large effects on our overall society.
Perhaps the more accurate chart should look something like this:
With a gradual shift from one generation to the next, but a “tipping point” that results in a large perceived shift in generational attitude. This would explain the “Generation Jones” effect (along with other theories that break the generations down even further), as the period of transition lines up with that proposed generation:
I am a Gen-X’er (born 1966), and I fit the generational stereotype in that I am very pragmatic. The value I see in this generational research is in understanding where, as a society, we are going based on where we have been. Breaking down the system into smaller parts may make many feel they can identify with the roles more clearly, but I am not sure if it helps our predictive ability. So its not that I doubt that many people born between 1954 and 1965 feel they are caught between generations, its just that I am not sure that clarifies where our country is going in the future.

74 thoughts on “Does Generation Jones Exist?”

  1. Well-written article. I believe that while Strauss and Howe’s work has certainly added to our overall knowledge, thier work over time has become less relevant. The main reason why their work has lost a lot of credibility among experts is their insistence on sticking with static generational length, rather than evolving with other experts who continually point out that generations are getting shorter. At a time when most experts see generations as being approximately 12-15 years, S&H are still use that old-school 20 year model.

    In my mind, there is no doubt that Generation Jones exists. And, sure that helps our predictive abilities. The closer we get to accurately determining the correct generational boundaries, the more predictive we can be. And understanding Generation Jones right now is particularly important, given that this generation has clearly taked over the country’s leadership.

    One of the things I find most striking about this are the polls which repeatedly show that when asked, people born 1954-1965 identify much more with this generation in-between, rather than with the surrounding generations –Boom & X –which are supposedly correct.

    Generation Jones is catching on in such a big way because it’s true, and Jonesers clearly relate to it. It seems clear to me that within a short time from now, that Generation Jones will be clearly establshed. It already almost is, more or less. It has that feel of inevitability.

    1. I believe that Strauss and Howe’s work has become MORE relevant over time. If you read “The Fourth Turning”, written in 1997, it is uncanny how well they predicted what would be happening right now during the crisis. I don’t believe that their work has lost any credibility, and perhaps has gained some because of its accuracy. Most people in the future prediction business (such as Ray Kurzweil, Howard Rheingold and George Gilder, all technology futurists) they know that predicting even 10 years out is extremely difficult. Strauss and Howe’s work has stood at least that test of time.
      I am not sure what forces would make the cycle of generations become shorter. Although lifespans are getting longer, this would probably lead to a longer generational cycle rather than a shorter one. And although technology allows many to do things much faster, I think it would be hard to argue that people are maturing faster (in terms of how they view the world at each life stage). The teenagers I encounter still act like teenagers. Same with the midlife Gen-X’ers who definitely act like mid-lifers.
      Strauss and Howe have acknowledged in their writings that the start and end of generational cycles show some differences, but categorizing them as separate generations (such as “Generation Jones”) only muddles the cohesiveness of the model. The point of their research is to show repeating patterns in generations. Does “Generation Jones” have an analogous generation born back in the 1820’s and 1880’s? If so, what was the effect of those previous generations on the turnings of history? Until “Generation Jones” can help answer those questions it won’t be of much use in predicting the future. The designation of generations in Strauss and Howe’s work is not just a label applied randomly. Each of the generations has an archetype that tells how it will affect current and future history.

      1. Dave: the same goes with the Xennials about the GenX and Millennial Cusp. Yes I’m born on the cusp. Same question as Generation Jones. Does Xennials have a anoulogous group in the 1760’s or the 1880’s? How did they influence? Yes people felt caught between and I felt caught between GenX and Millennials born 1979 that’s the lesson of Cuspers and Generation Jones. Generations are not boxes but they’re predictive power like Strauss and Howe mention of the repeating pattern of Archetypes.

  2. Perhaps the reason for this strong desire for a Generation Jones is not only due to being caught between generations, but also because those born just before and just after a generational break have older siblings in a previous generation and/or younger siblings in the next. This might cause them to feel out of place generationally, especially if they are a middle child. I myself was born squarely towards the midst of GenX (1969) so I definitely see the pragmatic Nomad in myself.

  3. No, I was the oldest with a younger brother born in 1973. However, I have begun to realize the last couple of days something that never quite clicked for me before. He was born during a time when he would share high school with the new Heroes, making him a more left leaning GenXer while I shared more in common with older GenXers that grew up idolizing war heroes. It made me right leaning and I joined the Army, despite my left leaning Jehovah Witness father from the Silent generation. My mother was a conservative Southern Boomer from North Carolina which we visted often growing up. This combined with my love for classic Southern Rock, making me a “The South Shall Rise Again” far right winger at different times in my life, even though I grew up in Southern Indiana.

    I mention all this because it helps to better “find myself” I suppose. It’s why I know I will choose the far right destructive path of resistance to Obama’s change if I do not learn to temper that resistance with an appreciation for his genuine attempts to move right as well.

  4. Your “gradual shift” chart is a closer approximation of where I feel I fit into the “generational discussions”. Technically, I’m a Boomer, but have never considered myself as such (I believe I’m about 8 yrs your senior). In fact, I find the typical Boomer mindset rather irritating at times. I’m a so-called GenJoneser, and although I hate that lightweight term, as I’ve mentioned on my blog, I do think the Jones description is right on the money. I feel I have many of the Xers’ traits and some of the Boomers’. I was raised by “Silent” parents, and my 5 younger siblings are technically GenXers, but 4 of the 5 are also “Jonesers.” I have no children, but my many nieces and nephews are Millennials. I mention all this because I feel the influence of the family unit (immediate and/or extended, biological or not — basically the nurturing environment) cannot be overlooked when discussing the fine details within the broad-brush discussions of generational characteristics.

    Thanks again for your work!

  5. I think part of my previous comment may have been deleted by mistake — wanted to thank you for your excellent graphics and webinars re: S&H’s The Fourth Turning. I’m just about finished reading the book and your work has helped me navigate the dense text. Thanks also for the links you provide — love to find intelligent commentary!

    1. Poochie,

      I am glad that the charts have been helpful. One of the things that stands out for me in Strauss and Howe’s work is how they describe people’s role in their generation. I know that there are many who don’t feel like they belong in their generation (I was just talking to a Boomer friend who has always rejected many of her generation’s values) but you don’t get a choice about when you are born. Love it or hate it, but you don’t get to leave it! In some ways I think that rejection of the generation’s values actually solidifies the character of generations because it brings them more to light.
      I think this is particularly true during these times of transition (like we are in now). This is when values are tested in the crucible of the real world. It’s when you get to decide where you stand and your relationship with your generation. I think that is why we are hearing so much more about generations right now.
      Thanks for your comments. I am subscribed to your blog!


  6. I like the term Gen Jones to refer to people who are on the cusp between Boomer and X. I think of Jonesers as those born between 1958 and 1962 or so, although those dates aren’t written in stone.

    1. Jenny,

      The problem with creating new “generations” that are shorter than 20-25 years is that it confuses understanding of the generational cycles. I totally get that people on the cusp often feel like they belong to another generation, but the point is that the majority will identify with one or the other if you give them a A/B choice. I think some would argue, “why not give them more choices?”, but it really depends what you are trying to do. If you want to understand how history can help predict our future, then breaking up the generations is confusing. If you want to define smaller demographic groups to market to, then I can see the value.

      Thanks for commenting.


  7. Hey,

    There is a previous “tween” generation that you probably don’t know of, the Interbellum Generation, which were the GIs that were too young to fight in WWI, but too old to fight in WWII. The label came from the later GIs who fought WWII and didn’t appreciate the earlier GIs “mooching” off of their “winnings”.

    They were much more liberal than the later GIs, got FDR in office, worked in the CCC and other such groups, often were communists, and were usually the dissenting voices during the High that were often ignored, but later celebrated. I actually see similarities between them and Gen Y when compared to them.

    Three of my grandparents belonged to this “sub” generation, and their influence on my parents (and my father’s siblings which bridge the Silent/Boomer birth years), I think really extended the Silent Generation to the “gradual” cut off point. That is why my 1945 born mother had more in common with the Silent Generation at times, even though some Boomer characteristics did slip in on a rare occasion. My 1943 father definately is a cusper between the Silent and Boomers, but is even more Silent than my mother was.

    What I’d say is that as history turns there are the main generational archetypes, and as different historical events occur within saeculums, smaller (and probably more “superficial” sub-Generations are formed). The sub-generations are as much a part of the main generational archetypes IMO, but they have some little historical marker that “changed” or “effected” them. Some anomaly which changed their perceptions of how the world works, etc. For the end of Gen Y, the equivalents to the Interbellum Generation, or the Early Wave Millennials I’d say it would have to be if you were in 8th or 9th grade when 9/11 occurred. There is a difference in attitudes from those Millennials who were in 7th or younger grades, which is kinda there and kinda not in the two grades I mentioned earlier. The reason why I mention it, is that in 6th grade (even if you’re in a Middle School) you’re treated to an Elementary school style education. Once you enter middle school/Jr. High the education expectations, styles, and such change. After 9/11 Jr. High/Middle School style teaching drastically changed from what I remember. It no longer reflected what it had been just a year before. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was like the teachers went to bed and woke up as different people with different styles, slowly & gradually becoming more “self-esteem” motivated and “touchy-feely” like in their teaching styles, when before they had been more stoic and a bit standoffish. The 8th graders, who had experienced a year of this treatment (which sounds similar to what a Gen X friend of mine born in your year described as his school experience). However the 7th graders had just started in the school and barely had adjusted to the new teaching style, and all of that “self-esteem” and “touchy-feely” crap seemed to go to their heads, and now that I’m seeing them and the year following them, I’m noticing a large hubris that is eerily reminiscent to what some of the hubris the younger GIs display. I’ve also noticed this at a Boy Scout camp I’ve worked at. The older staff members who are early wave Millennials definately have different attitudes than the younger Millennials. The younger Millennial staff members expect the camp to give them something, because their working there is a “privilege” for the camp (that inflated hubris). When the camp doesn’t (because the Gen Xers who now run it don’t put up with that kind of crap–thank god!), they either quit (making a big show about how they’re being victimized by Gen Xers not letting them having any “fun”), or they start protests – that often fail because Gen X doesn’t think it’s cute like the Boomers did & Gen X knows how to dismantle protests. The older Millennials (like myself) just chalk it up to how life throws the punches and often want to smack the younger Millies over their overinflated heads and remind them that the world doesn’t revolve around their happiness, but instead that of the CAMPERS!

    It’s enough sometimes to make me seek out the older early wave Millies and start bemoaning like the adults in Bye Bye Birdie asking “what’s the matter with kids today?” Excuse my rant, but I often get a little carried away when speaking about those annoyingly hubris and self-entitled core Millennials.


  8. I understand the points you are making about not wanting to muck up the generational system by adding new sub-generations ad infinitum. But it’s also important not to become a slave to any one model–we’re talking in large part about tracking and graphing people’s behaviors, which are in part based on self-perceptions, and subject to change. I do not mind that, as a person born in 1978, I am in “Generation X”, according to these researchers’ theory. I remember reading one of their books around 2000, and being changed by their ideas. I accept their model–but like any sociological model, I do think it is open to alteration. Perhaps a compromise could be reached for those who are born on the cusp of generations. A sub-generation, truly bridging the two around it. Not a separate entity, but not just a fuzzy line, either. Generation Jones, and my sub-generation (sometimes humorously called Generation Perestroika, or insultingly called the MTV generation) don’t exist on any “fuzzy line”–we actually have experiences distinct from the groups on either side; and while, like I said, I don’t mind being lumped in with all the kick-ass Xers, it’s in the best interests of people who research generations for fun and/or profit to acknowledge new demographics when they present themselves. Generation Jones has caught on in part because it *really speaks* to a lot of people’s lived experience. And I predict that the next 10-15 years will see similar acknowlegement of the perspectives of people born between about 1976-1982. I know that, after years of feeling like I just missed the Generation Xers’ cultural shindig, but also being too old for the lockstep Millennials, I was deeply relieved to find that there is an actual sub-generation with perspectives shockingly similar to mine. I felt like a generational orphan, and so I know where Generation Jones is coming from. We may not be “full-fledged” generations, but we ARE full-fledged bridges, and belonging to two generations is a reality that leads to unique perspectives and intergenerational translation abilities.

    1. @Vi, I agree that there are differences in the character of people who are on the cusps of generations, and I think that Howe and Strauss have acknowledged this as well. The “bridging” you talk about (or alienation, depending on how you see it) is something many people born on the cusps seem to feel. I think that is the point I am making in this post: that the shift happens gradually and many people feel out-of-sync with the change. And it is natural for people to want to identify with a specific generation, and many on the cusp will feel that they don’t belong to either side. This sense of belonging/not belonging is part of what defines generations in the 20 year cycle, with the boundaries becoming clear as some push out and some push in. But I do find your argument much more compelling than DeRenstes who seems to believe that being quoted in the media makes for a good social science theory.

  9. Dave, I appreciate your analysis of Generation Jones. Constructed definitions of groups, such as Pontell’s approach to his so-called “Generation Jones” views history as segmented eras instead of gradual shifts, which I think is more realistic.

    Great analysis. Bravo!

  10. My daddy was born in 1943. I was born in 1981, and I consider myself to be more like Xers than Millennials. My case is Grunge was a big influence, I remember the Gulf War vividly, and many of my friends had older siblings born in the mid to late 70s.

    1. @charlie – You are right on the border (although strictly speaking you are an X'er). But individual attitudes about their generations vary. You don't have a choice about which generation you are a part of (just like you don't have a choice about which country you are born in) but you can choose whether you accept the values of that generation.

  11. Yes dsohigian, I was just making the point that I had more Gen X traits that any of the other generations.

  12. In a nutshell … the last 6 years of Boomers are slightly more conservative than the earlier years, due to not really being part of the core group sent to SE Asia to fight the Communists, and, due to not being on campus when things were really wild (they were there during the early – mid 70s).

    The early Xers were stupidly included in the main stream Boomer definition, which lamely encompassed birth dates as late as 1965 (one I say actually stretched it the 1967) – this is clearly wrong – slam dancing to hard core punk bands in LA clubs during the 2nd half of the 80s is definitely not a Boomer characteristic.

    So, there is nothing to so called Gen Jones.

    1. @SteveSadlov – I agree. I think that \”Generation Jones\” is a cute name looking for an application. The character of the late Boomers (as you point out) may be less conservative, but that does not make a separate generation. And the designation of Generation X starting later than 1961 is missing the big shifts in generational attitudes (and is mainly based on birth rates). The fact that almost no serious generational scholars have accepted the Gen Jones idea and that the only people talking about it are media pundits makes it a cute, but not particularly helpful, idea.

      1. How about starting Millennials earlier than 1982 like the late 1970’s like what I read? Strauss and Howe seriously disagreed as they made the Class of 2000 the first marker of Millennials. Those turning 18 in 2000 was the key to the first wave.

      2. GenJones is real. My parents are very early Boomers and they act Boomer. I was born in 58. My grandmother in 24 and my mother in 42. My parents got all the perks from their parents, grand parents and from society and basically told me and my GenJones siblings to not be seen or heard. We ate McDonald’s all the time. My best friend my great grandmother. Her son, my grandfather, had an 8th grade education and better pay and benefits than anything I’ve seen since I graduated college in 82, just in time for my first recession. I don’t really like the Beatles but they broke up before I had a radio. I do love George Harrison, though. I think he was out of step generationally with the other three who appealed to Boomers. He was a prototype of a Jonser within that group. My Boomer parents are in their 80s, wealthy, healthy and self-absorbed, as always. I’ve lost my retirement twice now, a house, was a single mother for 18 years, and have been told I probably won’t live to 70. I’m okay with the not living party, because it has been too hard, too difficult, too disappointing to be constantly forgotten by the government, by society, by everyone. Even with Covid, no vaccinations for people with rheumatoid and nervous system diseases if they were under 65. As for not remembering the 60s. I watched the 60s on TV and it was a horrifying time to be a child. I remember Robert Kennedy’s assassination, Vietnam war shown in all it’s nasty gore, and thinking the Viet Kong Guerillas were gorillas, the social unrest of the late 60s, and the constant drone of the Boomers who turned out to be generationally speaking, hypocrites. I relate well to the Obamas. When I was younger, the Boomer generation ended at 1956. Then, it kept creeping, creeping, creeping forward to even 1970! What a way to erase a whole generation of people. I’d better stop because I have a lot to say and most of it is not “nice.”

        1. Chopsie – thanks for the comment. It is interesting that you (and your mother and grandmother) were all “cuspers”, born on the cusp of generational change. As I said in this very post, cuspers often feel like they are not really part of either generation. Your parents sound more like Silents (who didn’t pay attention to their Gen X kids) than Boomers (even if they identify as such). Boomer tended to be over-involved in their childrens’ “success” even if that didn’t equate with their childrens’ well-being. Your summary of your challenges sound very Gen X – having to figure it out for yourself, growing up at a time when the world didn’t really care about kids. Same goes for being left out of any support from society or the government.

          My point with Gen Jones is that I don’t see any specific identifying characteristics of the demographic as a generation.

          And don’t worry about the Boomer generation being erased; they will make sure they go down in history as the most (self)-important generation ever, while Gen X will be the one erased (much like the Lost generation before us).

  13. Maybe y'all could help me with something. In college, I remember a particular intro marketing class, it was required for all business majors. We studied several sections on demographics, and generations was one. The thing I don't understand is how they could only make the X generation 12 years in length; 1965 to 1976. This might have changed as it was several years ago.

  14. @charlie – My opinion is that individuals in a generation often don't agree with the characteristics of their given \”cohort\”. But the key point is that MOST of the people in a generation have similar qualities. That is enough to tip the scales and shift the attitude of society. I know many Gen X'ers that act more like Boomers or Millennials, but they are the exceptions that make the rule.

  15. @charlie – My opinion is that individuals in a generation often don't agree with the characteristics of their given \”cohort\”. But the key point is that MOST of the people in a generation have similar qualities. That is enough to tip the scales and shift the attitude of society. I know many Gen X'ers that act more like Boomers or Millennials, but they are the exceptions that make the rule.

  16. dsohigian, do you believe that there is an in-between generation between Xers and Millies? Most places where I see this cusp is born around 1978-1986 or so(I believe Tulgan mapped that demograph out).

  17. Born in 1955, I feel absolutely, positively that I am a BOOMER. My only regret is that I was born just a tad too late to fully enjoy the Beatles, Summer of Love, etc. because I was a kid then, rather than a teen. But my friends & I enjoyed the immediate aftermath & runoff of it all and carried with us the same 1960s/1970s/1980s attitudes that are attributed to the Boomer generation as a whole.

    My entire life I've been told I was a Boomer. The very notion of a Generation Jones is absurd. I think the only reason someone my age might want to glom onto the Jones idea is because we are all getting older and looking for ANYTHING that will allow us to somehow be viewed as a member of a younger group.

    1. @michael – I'm right there with you. My older brother was born in 1964 and I was born in 1966. He is definitely an X'er like me. But my big argument against Gen Jones has always been that it just doesn't tell us anything: generations should inform us about ourselves, our society and our future. Gen Jones doesn't do that at all – it's a cute name looking for a purpose.

        1. @michael – I think he was actually 1965 – but as I mentioned in my other posts, the demographers demarcation of generations is not as useful as the cultural demarcations.

    2. Born the last week of October 1960, I absolutely have nothing in common with the boomers.Regardless of my age–or yours –there is still a subset of us that are more Xer than boomer. Oh wait, maybe i did streak when my mother was changing my diaper!

    3. I was born in 1961 and for many years I was not in the boomer category, but then the definition of boomers started to slip and for a while I was a boomer but my sister, born in 1964 was not. Nowadays they've got us both in the boomer category, though in some places you can still find the old definition that started the GenX at 1961. To call me and my sister boomers doesn't feel right and never has. I feel absolutely, positively, that I am NOT A BOOMER.

  18. dsohigian, I do think a cusp like concept should be considered when talking about Generations. I do think their are certain probobalities that one person bordering a generation might actually be considered a part from another generation. My father for example, was born in 1942, which S&H states that he is a silent, but to me he as about as Baby Boomer as one could get. It could be that he was raising a Millie children, like myself born in 85, which makes him an hononary one.

    I do think cusps should exist since it is really hard to make a concrete statement that one generation started at this date etc.., but I do think it should be shorter than one proposes(IE 4 years tops).

    1. @joe – I think we agree on this one (and so do Strauss and Howe, as far as I can tell). There definitely is a \”tipping point\” in generations wehre people on the cusp identify with one generation or another. My argument against Generation Jones is that he is calling it a completely separate generation, even though I can't figure out what is unique about it (they are a little bit of both?). Recognizing the cusps (as well as leading and trailing edges) of a generation is useful, but creating new ones is not needed.

      On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 8:54 PM, Dave Sohigian <> wrote:

      1. I agree.

        I guess people born within that group see themselves differently from the older and younger ones is probably due era that they grew up in. People who teenagers during the 70's were late boomers and early Xer's and they probably feel that they are a separate generation because of that experience.

  19. I am a 43 year old Gen X'er, thru and thru – born 1966. I have siblings and neighbors who were born in the Boomer and late Boomer (call it Jones if you want) eras, and I'm not sure I see a clear distinction between them – I just know they are VERY different from me, and I have had so much trouble getting along with them that I am now explaining it away as a generational fluke.

    I am a Gen X conservative libertarian – meaning staunchly fiscal conservative, pro strong national defense, but brother, leave me the heck alone otherwise (socially neutral or libertarian on social issues, and pro limited government). Because Gen X'ers are thinly populated already, I have a tough time finding like-minded people to hang out with – except my Gen X spouse, and we agree on most everything except music. Sad but true. Wish there were more of us.

  20. What do Jones Generation people want? What do they like? How are their needs and desires different from the Boomers or Xers?

      1. What are the needs and desires of Xennials and Oregon Trail Generation and how they’re different from Xers and Millennials?

        Dave’s point about Generation Jones.

  21. I haven't read Pontell's book, but there is indeed a huge difference between the experiences of people born before and after 1955, namely that those born after 1955 were not old enough to serve in Vietnam. Thus my generation wasn't involved in the anti-war movement, and we never had to live in fear of being conscripted to fight in a war we didn't believe in. That makes an enormous difference.

    1. I did not know that Pontell had a book – I would be willing to read it if there really is one. I don't have issue with difference between folks on the border of generations, but the point is that creating an entirely new generation with no clearly definable characteristics is just confusing. If someone could tell me what sets Generation Jones apart from Boomers or Gen X then maybe it would be more compelling…

  22. I was born in 1958. During and after high school unemployment and inflation were extremely high and the opportunities for advancement simply sere not there. (I, myself never had a steady job until my twenties.) The one certain thing was that none of us would be drafted as had been happening to the generation before which they had to live through. However we also could not expect to work a year for a new motorcycle, two for a VW bug, three for brand new Ford or Chevy or what have you, ten years for a starter home, fifteen for a nice home, etc. We may have wished to have become hippies in our earlier years even some of us having older brothers or sisters who were hippies for a month or two but by the time of our graduation they were pretty much a thing of the past. However there were hippie abandons to be seen in various places around but no hippies to be found anywhere. (Now many of those places in the woods have been replaced with condos.) As children we may have participated in some of the social marches, protests, and riots but after graduation nothing like that was ever hardly happening anymore. We really are a DIFFERENT GENERATION.

    1. Del, you hit the nail on the head. Generation Jonesers came of age when the economy was looking worse and worse and the future did not look bright. This may sound very strange now, but I remember being told as a late teenager/early adult by my parents and other adults that my age group would be the first generation in American history that would not do better than its parents economically. Yes, that was hyperbole in retrospect but it seemed plausible to a lot of people at the time. America was widely regarded as being in decline. We didn’t have good jobs just waiting for us, though by the mid 80s the economy did better and eventually we did fine overall.

      At the same time, we were too young to help invent the counterculture or the anti-war movement, and too young to participate until they were either obsolete or passe. We were spectators to the idealism, culture, passions, and conflicts of the 1960s. As such, we didn’t feel that we were going to change or save the world, or that we were “special”.

      The supposed Boomer attributes just don’t resonate and the widely proclaimed ‘defining Boomer experiences’ (Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, Woodstock, counterculture) are not ones that we actually had. This mismatch is not a simple matter of being ‘slightly more conservative’; it’s really a pretty fundamental difference in life experiences and self-perception during the formative years and while coming of age.

      1. Very late to this party, no one will see this, but I had to look again you make sure I hadn’t written this. You nailed it exactly, but I’m writing in 2017 and it’s far from hyperbole.

  23. Isn’t Almost Famous basically about a lost and confused Generation Joneser. I feel the film, even if it’s not all that great in my opinion, is basically a testament to the fact this generation exists.

  24. Individual people have personal experiences that define them that could even distinguish them from others born in the same year. I’m not going to write a book at the moment, but I’ll just say my uncle born in 1954 is pretty solidly a Joneser judging by the definition that circulates throughout the internet. My aunt born in 1953 I’d say is Jones/Boomer hybrid, while my uncle born in 1952 is about as boomer as one could get, and I’m sure his having been an ROTC has something to do with that even if he was never sent to Vietnam. However, I’ve come across other people born in 1954 who I’d say are card-carrying boomers. There are all sorts of variables that could affect one’s temperament. For example, whether one has GI parents versus early Silent parents could certainly have an effect. My uncle born in 1954 has early Silent parents (my grand parents). But other people I know, who were born in 1954 but have purely Boomer outlooks, have parents that are/were card-carrying members of the Greatest Generation. One thing I should point out though is my grandfather, who was born in the late 20s, seems to have more of a Greatest Generation temperament, but that may be because he benefitted from the GI Bill, having been drafted at the tail end of WW2, even though he was never sent off to combat, since the war ended before it would have perhaps been his time, so who knows.

  25. Spoken like a true Gen Xer. I’m a Jonser, born 1960, and I don’t feel like you or the boomers. Okay? You and they have it all figured out, secure in what you are and what you have. I have nothing and I fell like crap, “jonesin'” for a life of some kind. Take your self-satisfied attitude and shove it.

    1. What individuals feel about their generation is not nearly as important as how society at large acts. I know Gen X’ers that feel like outsiders because they identify more with Boomers, Mills or none-of-the-above. But that does not change the fact that the attitude of MOST people their age behave according to generational archetypes. So I see how you might not feel like a part of either generation, but that does not change society.

      1. I was also born in 1960 and have nothing in common with my two older sisters born in 1945 and 1948. There’s just too great of a span a time between us (I was in Kindergarten when the oldest got married and had her first kid). I don’t identify with my sister’s Gen-X children mostly born in the late 60s through mid 1970s. I was the “young uncle”, but we clearly had different pop culture, social and educational experiences. We are not the traditional Woodstock era Boomers and we are not the traditional Lollapalooza era Gen-Xers. Think more Disco and Punk Rock era. Its as simple as that.

      2. The Archetypes are the key to understanding Generations. I agree. Cuspers are those born in the tradition periods from one Generation to the next. Some see being born on the Cusp as a handicap but it’s an advantage for an individual to be empathetic to both generations like I’m emphatic to both GenX and Millennials. But both Generations act according to their Archetype at every phase of life they’ve occupied. My point is those born on the cusp of the earlier generations in Strauss and Howes theory going back 500 years? I bet it’s been the same deal yet they’ve always acted their Archetypes bottom line. The cusper is the individual advantage of understanding the traits of both X and Mill.

  26. Coming in really late on this but the basic idea of a generation that encompasses 20+ years is inherently stupid. too many of the last part of the generation would be children of the first part.
    It is a valid distinction (Generation Jones) and if you cannot see the distinction, that says more about you than them.

    1. @RRDRRD:disqus – I would highly recommend that you read some of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ works if you are interested in generations. There is a solid reason for the +/- 20 year span as well as the cycle of 4 generational types. Read “The Fourth Turning” or any of their other books and I think you will see the power of their theories.

      And, btw, I don’t mind people making up new names for generations. But if they don’t help me better understand where society is and where it is going, then it’s nothing more than a name.

  27. I’m a Generation Jones born in 1964. I feel strongly that we are a distinct generation and wrote a blog post including a Q & A with Jonathan Pontell, who coined the phrase. Here is a link if you’d like to take a look.

    For me, the dividing line between us and the Boomers is that we have no memory of when JFK was killed. Any true Boomer remembers. And I don’t identify with the GenXers either.

  28. Most definitely a Joneser. Born Dec 1958 to ideals of the 60’s and disappointment of the 70’s. I never once felt I had a generation until Gen Jones. It’s not just a name. It may be a short span, but there are many of us.

  29. Dave:I was born in 1979, strictly speaking, I would be and proud to be a GenXer. But I’m on the cusp and have characteristics of and shared experiences with Millennials. So would that change how society would view me? As an Xer or Millennial? Which traits would stand out for me ultimately X or Mill?

    1. Not Dave, but let me chime in Angelo. It all depends on the individual. You most probably have traits of both gens. For me I was born 1970. I always thought I had more in common with folks about my age and older not younger.

      In all due respect folks born in late 70s and early 80s should be considered a tweener sub gen like the Jonesers. What really should happen is for society to go back to Gen Y to designate late 70’s to early 90’s births and restart the Millenial generation from early 90s to somewhere in 2000s. I am just not a big fan of the 20 year cycle for generations.

      I find us older Gen Xers born in 60s to early 70s to be different in how we were raised, values and interests compared to folks considered to be on cusp of X and Millennial gens. Just an opinion and a vantage point from personal experience; and not to say that you still don’t traits from both gens.

      1. Yes I do recall that there was more protection and structure with those on the cuspe than those older. Especially in the mid-late 1990’s as Millennials were coming from behind as well as the public societal attention.

      2. Thanks Richard. Dave would say that the real power of the generations were born into is the Archetypes in a repeated order that the generations are presented on. The sub groups are micro but where’s the proof they act on history like Strauss and Howe discuss? Do Cuspers and small groups launch crisis’s or Awakenings? I think Dave is trying to make the point about GenJones?

  30. Dave: the point your making is yes I’m born between generations but Generations an it’s repeating Archetypyal pattern is what’s more powerful than yet few individuals try to assign themselves and what makes it more powerful in the cusper case is that the shift always comes more gradual than people believe. That’s been the case in its history.

  31. A decade ago I began to google about why I wasn’t feeling the baby boomer generation, even though I am more toward the latter years of the boomers, and this is when I came across the Gen Jones, realizing that I feel that I fit better into that described generation.

    I was born in 1955. Woodstock was on the news for me, and I heard little of it, probably because I had no interest. I wasn’t a Beatles fan, either, and that music wasn’t even played at my high school dances.

    I do understand why they don’t recognize the sub-generations, but I still cannot identify with the boomers.

    Having read so many of the comments, I have to make a comment on Michael B’s comment from nearly a decade ago, where he claimed it’s absurd to believe in Gen Jones, and that people, like myself, are simply trying to identify as younger.

    I find that a hugely rude and arrogant assumption of a mass of people that he has no true clue as to what “we think”. I am not trying to identify as being younger, and I don’t even even know how he could think that! He doesn’t know me, and I don’t pretend to be anything outside of who I am.

    Identifying with Gen Jones in no way means I am pretending or wishing to pass myself off as younger. And I question if that’s what any other Gen Jones believer thinks – so I hope more of us come here and speak up on that! And, for the matter of him thinking we’re trying to latch onto a definition as a means to claim we’re younger, one could just as easily claim the earlier part of the Boomers are just old fogies, but maybe that’s just Michael who thinks that?

    What does it even matter if some of us born during the latter years of the Boomers don’t feel like a Boomer? I know several early Boomers, and my generational thinking is very different that theirs. That’s exactly why we’re different enough to not feel like we belong to the Boomers!

    I realize that just because I identify with Gen Jones, that, sadly, it won’t change the fact I am still a latter Boomer. So, I say to Michael, there is absolutely nothing absurd with how one identifies, and your being so arrogant over it because you don’t wrap your thoughts around it just means your generational thinking is different. But how is there a need to be so arrogant by stating the people who identify more so as Gen Jones – that we “want to latch onto anything that’ll allows us to be viewed as younger”? No, it is not absurd, not by any means.

    Under your stated thoughts, maybe it is you who thinks of himself as older, not us trying to think younger.

    1. As well, I should have pointed out that the Generation Jones are identified as being born between 1954 – 1965, so this doesn’t make anyone any younger (nor viewed as any younger) since the birth years are stated and the only to change would be that we identify as Jones. We don’t reverse in age and nothing makes us appear younger, so Michael’s theory of “wanting to be younger by not wanting to be a Boomer” has absolutely no logic to it. Nice try, Michael, but not a winner in your theory.

  32. As well, I should have pointed out that the Generation Jones are identified as being born between 1954 – 1965, so this doesn’t make anyone any younger (nor viewed as any younger) since the birth years are stated and the only to change would be that we identify as Jones. We don’t reverse in age and nothing makes us appear younger, so Michael’s theory of “wanting to be younger by not wanting to be a Boomer” has absolutely no logic to it. Nice try, Michael, but not a winner in your theory.

  33. As a frustrated member of this cohort, let me share my shock at just now discovering there is this recognition of the blank generation. Regardless the Fourth Turning Horoscope.

    Hey everyone! You can stuff the stupid name.

    Furthermore, let me suggest that the lot of you boomers and xers who can’t let go should just bugger off and dance with the Partridge Family until the eatmorchikins come home.

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