America is feeling the effects of the baby buster or “X” generation. The “X” were (popularized by author Douglas Coupland, who took it from Paul Fussell’s 1983 book, Class) those born from 1964 0r 1965 to 1980, though some sources give the cutoff date as 1975.
They’re called “busters” due to a decline in the U.S. birth rate during this period. There were about 43-46 million people born in the U.S. during the “bust” years; adding immigrants and subtracting deaths,
These 41 million members are an important consumer buying group, representing $125 billion in spending power.
They’re 20% of the U.S. population and consist of the following ethnic makeup: 70% White, 13% Black, 12% Hispanic, 4% Asian, and 1% American Indian.
Busters show steadily increasing rates of illegitimacy, child poverty, and single-parent upbringing, because during the “bust” years, all demographic groups joined in the fertility plunge, except one – unmarried women with low incomes.
This generation was raised on TV and personal computers, and are the first generation of American children to be raised in predominantly white-collar households.
This is the first child generation to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in any significant numbers.
Busters are the first generation to have a majority of its immigrants come from outside Europe.
They have encountered harsher economic conditions upon completing school then any other generation born since World War I.
Busters came of age amid skyrocketing housing costs. They’re on pace to become the most heavily-taxed American generation ever.
Busters are more likely to remain single longer than any prior generation.
Upon the Buster reaching young adulthood, the era of massive cutbacks in social “safety net” programs began.
Buster males in the late 1980s popularized the shortest men’s hair styles of the twentieth century. In the mid-1990s, many just shaved their head for the bald look.
Busters are the fattest generation in U.S. history.
A large number of Busters were killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.
The Busters fall into several sub-categories:
Mature Busters, born from 1964 or 1965 to 1970
This would include: Eddie Vedder(Pearl Jam), Calista Flockhart, John Leguizamo, Rodney King, Cindy Crawford, the late Kurt Cobain, Jimmy Kimmel, Ricki Lake, J.K. Rowling, Celine Dion, Nicholas Cage, Courteney Cox, the late Chris Farley, Teri Hatcher, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Dell (founder of Dell computers), Martin Lawrence, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlie Sheen, Ben Stiller, Shania Twain, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Adam Sandler, Kiefer Sutherland, Mike Tyson, Pamela Anderson, Nicole Kidman, Dave Matthews, Liz Phair, Julia Roberts, Patricia Arquette, Gary Coleman, Tony Hawk, Salma Hayek, Will Smith, Sammy Sosa, Jennifer Aniston, Ice Cube, Edward Norton, Christian Slater, Gwen Stefani, Emmitt Smith,Andre Agassi, Mariah Carey, P. Diddy, Uma Thurman, Michelle Obama, and Renee Zellweger, among others.
Young Busters, born from 1971 to 1976, would include Jeff Gordon, Lance Armstrong, Dido, Winona Ryder, the late Tupac Shakur, Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Shaquille O’ Neal, Snoop Dogg, Leonardo Di Caprio, Jewel, Alanis Morrissette, Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Lauryn Hill, Kate Winslet, Tiger Woods, Alicia Silverstone, ReeseWitherspoon, Kate Moss, Peyton Manning, and Brittany Murphy, to name a few.
Mature Baby Boomlets, born from 1977 to 1982, are part of Generation Y (1977-1993), which also includes Echo Boomers (1981 to 1990) such as Venus and Serena Williams, Le Bron James, Jesica Lynch, Daniel Radcliffe, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, and Lindsay Lohan.
Echo Busters– those born after 1990, would be Michelle Wie and Dakota Fanning.
The Boomlets differ in terms of attitude and values from the Busters. There’s less concern with money and material things and more interest in social issues, sports, fashion, and rap music.
However, both groups are more focused on their careers than Baby Boomers were. The Busters, in particular, sometimes criticized as “slackers”, nevertheless were widely credited with the new entrepreneurship growth and the dot-com boom.
The retail trade and service industry provides the single largest group of employed men and is by far the largest supplier of jobs for 16 to 19-year-olds. They’re 80% of this particular occupation.
Most are working to afford two basic needs, such as food, household and personal expenses, and rent. A few are putting aside a nest egg for college, or to enable them to continue going. The majority are not planning to remain in retail.
An exception is Tara Foster, a college senior in fashion merchandising. She’s employed at The Fashion Bug in a local mall: “I would eventually like to work in this company as a buyer. Right now, I’m only a salesperson. I would eventually go into management, then assistant buyer, and work my way up.”
Dan Fedorline, a fifth-year Business Management major who works at Oasis Records and Video, and Kevin Payton, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major and hardware store employee, won’t stay in retail, but said their experiences has provided them with skills related to their chosen fields.
“Besides school expenses, I work to help my parents out”, said Anna Kwan, a biology pre-medicine major and a senior. Miss Kwan is employed by a local Salvation Army branch and also subs for her mother at a popular hot-dog stand, the family business.
Mary Clay is a graduating high school senior who ranks sixth in her class and was recently accepted by Harvard University. Miss Clay has been a regular McDonald’s employee for the past two years: “I work to give myself a sense of responsibility. Working also gives me a view of the real world and teaches independence; I don’t have to ask my mom for anything. My job will be a definite asset, for the diverse interaction and situations I’ve learned to handle and will encounter”.
“The older you get, it seems that there’s more you need or want, and your parents can’t always afford them so you need your own spending money,” added Mickey Hunt, also employed at McDonald’s (And like Kwan, entering medical school) . In addition, you develop a work ethic.”