Mary Anna Thomas

22 Reasons Why No One Cares About Gen X

Sandwiched between the respected Baby Boomer generation and the ever-vocal Millennials, Generation X often feels like the forgotten middle child. Born roughly between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, Gen Xers grew up in a world vastly different from their parents and children. Here are 22 reasons why it seems nobody cares about Gen X.

The Latchkey Generation

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“Latchkey Kid” refers to children from Gen X who cared for themselves after school because their parents were both working or unavailable. This meant that Gen X learned self-reliance early on, but it often led to complete social isolation for some. A study that compared medical students from different generations found that Gen X students were more resilient than their millennial counterparts. With little interaction with others, it is easy to see why some Gen Xers were left off the party list.

Economic Disruption

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Gen X entered the workforce during a period of economic recession, so they witnessed instability and job insecurity. This instilled a sense of pragmatism and adaptability, and subsequently, other generations felt that they did not have to support Gen X in the way they did with more vulnerable generations. 

Technological Revolution

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While comfortable with technology, Gen X grew up with something other than Millennials. In a recent survey by Consumer Affairs, 91% of Gen X and Boomers said they felt overwhelmed by technology. They’ve had to adapt to a constantly evolving digital landscape and are often left behind when interacting with technology compared to younger generations.

No Big Stories to Tell 

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Boomers’ cultural impact and Millennials’ digital footprint often overshadow Gen Xers. While Gen X had a significant cultural impact, namely Grunge music and alternative rock, as well as the rise of independent cinema, other generations have largely ignored them.

No Participation Trophy

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Raised with a “tough it out” mentality, Gen X shuns the participation trophies and constant praise younger generations are reliant on. This can make them seem less needy but also less heard, resulting in other generations paying little respect for their lack of goals. 

They Are way too Cynical

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Growing up between the Boomer idealism and Millennial optimism, Gen X may have seen societal promises go unfulfilled. Gen Xers value efficiency and getting things done. They might appear cynical of excessive celebration or performative actions that don’t translate into concrete results, often seen as boring by other generations. Of course, these stereotypes would not fit all of Gen X, but it appears younger generations are happy to fall into this trap.  

The Juggling Act

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Gen Xers often find themselves between caring for aging parents and their children, creating a unique set of pressures. In a survey by Policy Genius, 60% of respondents, mainly from Gen X, feel stressed about caring for at least three generations. With so much pressure to look after others, there is little chance for them to shine in their own right. 

The Masters of Work-Life Balance

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Having witnessed workaholic tendencies in their Boomer parents, Gen Xers value their time and prioritize a healthy work-life balance. This attitude is often frowned upon by older generations who think their children should follow in their footsteps. 

They’re in Middle Age Right Now

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It seems inevitable that the middle-aged generation will be largely ignored by the culture around them. While modern innovations are aimed at younger generations, and politicians target the elderly for their votes, people in the middle are simply forgotten about. 

The Invisible Consumers

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As Gen X reaches its prime earning years, their disposable income is on the rise, yet marketers often overlook their significant spending power. Gen Xers value brands they trust and are more likely to stick with established products and services, but there is a lot to be said for new brands working with Gen X as they could be pleasantly surprised. 

Analog Natives

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Gen X values tangible experiences and well-made physical products. They might be less swayed by the allure of the latest app or digital gimmick, so tech developers often don’t bother trying to engage this generation. 

The Champions of Self-Sufficiency

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The Do-It-Yourself approach is ingrained in Gen X, who are comfortable tackling challenges and fixing things themselves. This “I do me and you do you” attitude can lead to some other generations feeling like they are surplus to Gen X needs and, therefore, don’t need to invest time into them.

No Consistent Parenting Style

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Boomer parents were notorious for letting their kids roam free, while Millennials have become synonymous with helicopter parenting. This left Gen X, as always, stuck in the middle. Their kids are self-sufficient enough not to complain too loudly, leaving Gen X parents in a no-man’s land. 

The Minimalist Movement

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Gen X witnessed a period of consumerism during their formative years. Minimalism could be a reaction to this excess, valuing experiences over possessions and prioritizing practicality. But this is something that Boomers and Millennials cannot get on board with, feeling happy to leave Gen X for their own thing. 

Dark Humor Specialists

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Gen X humor can be dry, sarcastic, and self-deprecating, reflecting their worldview and ability to laugh at themselves. Their humor can be subtle and rely on dry wit or deadpan delivery, which can be misinterpreted by those who prefer more overt jokes or slapstick humor.

The Champions of Privacy

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Having grown up before widespread social media, Gen X values privacy and is more cautious about online sharing. While these are valid reasons from Gen X’s point of view, other generations put them down to being snooty and “stuck in their ways.”

They Are Low in Numbers

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Compared to other generations in the United States, Generation X has the smallest population, with approximately 65 million people. In contrast, there are over 72 million Millennials in the United States. These Pew Center stats quite literally show that Gen X is the ignored middle child. 

The Voice of Reason

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Known for their common sense and ability to see things from multiple perspectives, Gen Xers can be valuable mediators and problem solvers. This is a positive trait for the majority, but younger generations may feel they are constantly being lectured.

The Masters of Code-Switching

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Gen X can seamlessly transition between the analog and digital worlds, traditional work styles, and modern communication methods. Because of their skills in navigating the world, some see Gen X as able to go it alone, so do not invest much time thinking about them. 

The Unsung Heroes of the Workplace

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Gen Xers are the backbone of many workplaces, bringing experience, dedication, and a strong work ethic. Many people welcome Gen X’s dedication to the workplace, but younger generations may see them as being the “goody two shoes” of the office and are, therefore, shunned. 

The Bridge Between Generations

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Being in the middle, Gen X can act as a bridge between the vastly different experiences and perspectives of Boomers and Millennials. While this can be a positive thing, some Gen Xers are accused of being too intrusive and will interfere when they are not wanted.

They are Seen as Being Apathetic  

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Gen X is known for their focus on practicality and finding solutions. Their “apathetic” demeanor might simply be a preference, but other generations can perceive Gen X as being aloof and only interested in what is good for them rather than what the wider society can contribute. 


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