CHAPTER 1 The Enigma that is Gen Y

Bernard Salt

Whenever a new star or planet is discovered, its name, coordinates and other vital statistics are registered with the International Astronomical Union located in Boulevard Arago in the 14th Arrondissement in Paris. It is unfortunate that a similar system isn't in place to determine the parameters of the names of newly discovered human generations.

The Baby Boomers were easy to identify and made themselves known from about 1946 onwards. It's less clear when exactly this generation ended and the next began. Those who followed the Boomers were named Generation X by Canadian author Douglas Coupland, who published a book on this very subject in 1992. The logic that followed was, well, if there is an X then there must be a Y. And if there's a Y, then there must be a Z. But hang on — since Generation Z straddles the millennium, perhaps a better tag is the Millennium Generation.

And wait — maybe Generation Y ended before the end of the millennium, in which case perhaps something along the lines of iGen would be more appropriate.

I wonder whether the International Astronomical Union's Paris headquarters might have a spare room where social scientists and demographers could deliberate and make serious pronouncements about all the generations, their starting years and ending years, ...

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