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How Are Generations Named?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A new book about children born between the mid-1990s to 2012 is making the rounds.

It's called "iGen" and could signify the new name of the generation following Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers.

So, where do these names come from? Good Question.

"Naming a generation is like flying a bullet into a cave and watching it ricochet all over the place," says Neil Howe, a widely known authority on generations. "Ultimately, certain names stick."

In his book "Generations," Howe and his co-author, William Strauss, called the generation of people born before 1928 the G.I. Generation. It was also known as the Swing Generation – due to jazz – before Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation," was released. It's now known as the Greatest Generation.

Following that was the Silent Generation, which Pew Research defines it as people born between 1928 and 1945. That era was known for risk aversion. Howe says the "Silent" term came from a 1951 Time Magazine article.

The Baby Boomers, defined by Pew as people born between 1946 and 1964, initially referred to the post-war economic boom. The babies later followed.

Howe says the term Generation X has the most interesting backstory. It started as a term used in magazines and a book in London in the 1950s. A young Billy Idol later made it more popular when he used the name for his band. It wasn't though, until 1991, when Doug Coupland published "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture" that the name stuck.

In their book, Howe and Strauss coined with the term Millennials for people born after 1982. They decided on the term because the oldest of that generation would graduate from high school in the year 2000.

Click here to submit your Good Question.

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