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Part 1: Generations in Pursuit of the American Dream

Real Median Family Income

Yesterday, Forbes launched a seven-part series with Neil Howe, Generations In Pursuit of the American Dream. Check out Are You Born To Be Better Off Than Your Parents?

Howe is the author of numerous books about generations including the Fourth Turning.


This graph reveals that today’s younger generations really do face a troubled future. Every cohort through early-wave Boomers has seen upward jumps in their lifecycle income—all the way up until 2012. But every younger generation that has not yet reached age 60 has experienced no such progress. In fact, the 1955-64 birth-year cohort is the oldest group ever in this Census record to fall beneath an earlier cohort at the same phase of life. Later-born cohorts at younger ages have meanwhile been falling beneath first-wave Boomers for decades—in what amounts to a horrible traffic jam.

In the series, Howe will discuss how five generations are viewed by others. The generations are: G.I. Generation (1901-24)
Silent Generation (1925-42)
Baby Boomers (1943-1960)
Generation X (1961-81)
Millennials/Gen Y (1982-2004)

The years in parentheses are subjective and defined by Howe in his lifecycles theory of generations. Howe will also discuss how each generation redefined the American Dream and how each one tried to achieve it. He will include analysis of how external events helped or hurt the outcome or realizations of those dreams. This is a real treat!

What’s your American dream and have you achieved it?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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