Asked which generation they relate most to, only 41% of Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1976) identified their own generation, according to survey results from MetLife. That’s on par with the percentage who, combined, identify with Baby Boomers (28%) and Gen Yers (12%). In fact, respondents were as likely to say they don’t like Gen X as a description for their generation as were to say they like it or like it somewhat (49% and 51%, respectively). The researchers suggest that “relating to a generational identity is more influenced by family, values, interests, abilities and personal experience than by age.”
That’s because there was no real discernible pattern in generational identification when sorting by year of birth. That is, while the oldest Gen Xers (born in 1965) were more likely than any others to identify as Boomers, the youngest (born in 1974) were second-most likely. Propensity to relate to Gen Yers also fluctuated, although identification with Gen X seemed to be higher among those squarely in the middle of the generation, age-wise.
The study also uncovers another sort of identity crisis: the 2 most commonly cited characteristics of the generation are polar opposites. Those characteristics? Hard working (8%) and lazy (5%).
Some further highlights from the study are provided below:
- 65% of Gen Xers are working full-time, and a similar proportion of their spouses and partners are also working;
- Only about 40% are working in the career they intended to when entering the workforce;
- Half are behind in their retirement savings;
- 82% own a home, with an average value of $238,000, but 17% owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home;
- About three-quarters have children, with an average of 2.5;
- Close to 20% provide regular care for older parents and relatives;
- On average, Gen Xers will feel “old” when they’re 63;
- 70% have health insurance, and 40% own an IRA;
- 58% exercise or play sports as part of their day-to-day lives; and
- The most commonly cited way in which they describe their life stage is “in or approaching mid-life,” by 28%.
About the Data: The nationally representative survey for The MetLife Study of Gen X: The MTV Generation Moves into Mid-Life was conducted by GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of the MetLife Mature Market Institute between November 29, 2012 and December 19, 2012. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed by phone ”” respondents were all born between the years of 1965 and 1976. Data were weighted by demographics to reflect the total Gen X population.