Book Report: Generation X

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[. . .] Historical Trend for Generation X

For the second year in a row in 2009, Gen X reportedly comprises the most financially stressed of all contemporary generations. Smaller savings and a dearth of confidence in Social Security serve as dual stresses for Xers. One primary concern, according to 62% of Xers in a 2009 study that Scottrade, an online investment firm, commissioned, is that Social Security will run out of money. Gen X's top financial concern that 64% of participants reported involves the worry they will not have enough money for retirement. Gen X reportedly expressed more concern than any other generation regarding the following issues:

Paying for unexpected, major expenses (61%)

Managing day -- to -- day expenses (60%)

Having too much debt (57%)

Paying off credit card balances (52%)

Having no/reduced income due to job loss (52%). (Gen X Feels Most Stressed . . ., 2009, ¶ 6)

The 2009 Scottrade study reported the following positive points regarding Xers. During 2009, as in 2008, Gen X proved to be the most proactive of all the generations with 98% implementing initiatives to offset financial stresses, including, but limited to the following:

Comparing prices to find the best deal (69%)

Using coupons (66%)

Cutting back on entertainment (65%)

Paying down debts (57%)

Reducing credit card spending (55%)

Cutting back on travel/vacations (46%)

Cutting or eliminating services such as cable TV (30%) (Gen X Feels Most Stressed . . ., 2009, Bright Side: Gen X is Taking Action Section, ¶ 2)

IV. Characteristics of Generation X

Although by definition Xers may have inherited a reputation as being an unstructured, unknown and challenging generation, their diversity somehow has became one of their most defining characteristics. "More ethnically diverse than generations before them, the "PC' or 'politically correct' movement of the early 1990s may be seen as reflective of their [Xers'] tolerance for differences, quest for justice, and acceptance of those from diverse backgrounds" (Demographic profile…, 2010, p. 2). In addition, many Generation Xers have a distorted sense of devotion to their employers and commitment to their workplace; directly contrasting some in older generations. Employers have realized that Generation Xers constitute one of the first generations of individuals who refuse to become workaholics and forfeit their family lives. As they began to initiate a balance in their work and family lives, Xers ultimately began to make their generation authentic and self sufficient.

Job security may comprise another significant goal for Generation Xers. As many Generation Xers already possessed technical expertise when they entered the workforce, they had a distinct advantage over numerous of their Baby Boomer co-workers. On the other hand, because many older generation workers have postponed their retirements, this leaves many Generation Xers longing for promotional opportunities. Due to growing up in two-family incomes, albeit, has caused Xers to tend to weigh the pros and cons of almost everything in life. The sense of uncertainty most Xers grew up with, nevertheless, contributed to many in this generation making family and close friends their number one priority. Most individuals in this generation confirm they put their family and home life over their finances (Demographic profile…, 2010). Table 1 portrays statistics relating to Generation Xers' family life in 2009.

Table 1: Statistics on Generation Xers in 2009 (Demographic profile…, 2010, p. 4).

Males

Females

Married

65.0%

67.2%

Widowed

0.3%

1.1%

Divorced

10.3%

11.8%

Separated

2.7%

4.1%

Never Married

21.7%

15.8%

Generation Xers born in 1965, the first year of that generation, had a life expectancy of 70.2 years. On the other side, Generation Xers born in 1976, the last year of that generation, have a life expectancy of 72.9 years. "Bridging many divides, members of this generation have played a part in the development of many of the equalizing technological advancements that dominate today's world, such as Google, You Tube, and Amazon" (Demographic profile…, 2010, p. 2). Growing up amidst numerous social changes, Generation Xers embrace and handle change well.

The approximately 45 million Generation Xers reportedly comprise one of the most ethnically different generations in the United States. Approximately 35% of Generation Xers are classified as nonwhite or Hispanic. As Howe (2010) points out; concurring with Wuest, Welkey, Mogab and Nicols (2008): "Generation X, portrayed as cautious shoppers and heavy Internet users, lack brand loyalty" (¶ 4). Generations Xers, albeit, are considered the most market savvy of all the other generations. In addition, the majority of Generation Xers insist on honesty with a straightforward approach. In their study, Wuest, Welkey, Mogab, and Nicols (2008) ultimately find:

Differences in Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y as to their shopping preferences may not be as pronounced as presumed from the literature. Each of the generations studied finds most mall features to be important and each is reasonably satisfied with customer services. When differences were identified, they were most prevalent between the Baby Boomers and Generation Y Differences are less pronounced between generations in closer proximity-Baby Boomers and Generation X, and Generation X and Generation Y Differences may be more a factor of age and corresponding life experience or other variables such as education and income than of generational categorization. (Wuest, Welkey, Mogab, & Nicols, 2008, Discussion and Application Section, ¶ 1)

Current Size of Generation X In 2009, the United States reported 24,982,122 male Generation Xers and 24,678,179 female Generation Xers, making a combined total of 49,660, 301 or16% of the general population at that time. Statistics predict that during 2030, the rate may decline to 23,576,150 male Generation Xers and increase to 24,809,078 female Generation Xers; combining to total 48,385,228 or 13% of the total population in 2030 (Demographic profile…, 2010).

REFERENCES

Atkinson, P. (2008, Spring). Millenials: Researching the application of demographics to build customer relationships and HR strategy. Management Services, 52, 6+. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5036891269

Demographic profile America's Gen X. (2010). Metlife Mature Market Institute. Retrieved April 5, 2011 from http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/Profiles/mmi-gen-x

demographic-profile.pdf

Gen X feels most stressed: Majority has less than $25,000 in retirement accounts, according to Scottrade Study. (2009). Retrieved April 5, 2011 from http://about.scottrade.com/news/releases/2009/Gen-X-Feels-Most-Stressed-Majority-Has-Less-than-25000-dollars-in-Retirement-Accounts-According-to-Scottrade-Study.html

Howe, N. (2010, January). Meet Mr. And Mrs. Gen X: A new parent generation strategies for school leaders when dealing with customer-service expectations, self-interest and stealth-fighter tactics. School Administrator, 67, 18+. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5041060291

Jochim, J. (1997). Generation X defies definition. Nevada Outpost. Retrieved April 5, 2011 from http://www.jour.unr.edu/outpost/specials/genx.overvw1.html

Lee, C.. (2010). Screening Generation X: The politics Generation X growth statistics. Burlington VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Leslie, C.A., & Makela, C.J. (2008). Aging as a process: Interconnectedness of the generations. Journal of Family… [END OF PREVIEW]

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