Humans are fascinated by generational changes and what defines each generation.
News stories about what Millennials think about politics or how fortunate Baby Boomers were to get on the housing ladder so cheaply are everywhere.
But if you’ve only just got your head around Generation X, Y, and Z, it’s time to learn a new name: Generation Alpha.
So, what is Generation Alpha, how old are they, and what characterizes them? Let’s take a closer look.
What Year Is Generation Alpha?
Generation Alpha is the generation after Generation Z. So, when does Generation Alpha start? Essentially, anyone born in 2010 or after is part of this generation.
The last children in Generation Alpha will be born in 2024. After that, the next generation will start.
Why is this? It’s not 100% set in stone, but generations tend to be separated by 15 years or so.
Generation Y, for example, consists of people born between 1981 and 1995. If you’re getting confused already, this infographic provides a good comparison of the generations.
The kids in Generation Alpha are the children of early Millennials and Generation Y parents.
This generation is growing by over 2.5 million each week, and it’s thought that they will be the largest group when they are all born by 2025, with nearly 2 billion of them.
Generation Alpha seems like the logical continuation after X, Y, and Z. But the Greek alphabet has been used instead of calling it Generation A.
The name was coined back in 2008 by the McCrindle consulting agency. The Australian agency created a report on generations in 2008.
According to a report in The Atlantic, Grindle claims that the name came from a survey that he ran where he provided several options for what to call the next generation, like the ‘Technos’ and the ‘Onliners.’
Generation A was a popular choice, but it was moved to the Greek alphabet from the Latin alphabet to represent something new rather than returning to the beginning.
For now, the name has stuck—but that could change. After all, Generation X was originally just a placeholder, but it was then followed by Y and Z, and people in Generation Y are now more commonly known as Millennials.
What Is Generation Alpha Known For?
What will Generation Alpha be like? This generation is currently made up of children, the oldest of whom, at the time of writing, is 12. As such, we don’t have a clear idea about the defining Generation Alpha characteristics. However, we can make a few guesses.
For a start, they are the first generation to be raised on screens. Tablets and phones have played a large role in their childhood years in a way that the previous generations did not experience. Screens have been used since birth by people in this generation.
This could lead to Generation Alpha being made up of people with shorter attention spans. It is also likely to mean they are more technologically savvy than previous generations.
The children in Generation Alpha have also grown up during the COVID pandemic, which is likely to shape their lives somehow. The huge upheavals of the last few years could well impact their educational and social development.
In addition, the idea of working from home has become completely normal for these children, which may impact how they choose to work when they become adults.
The pandemic may also have made them more resilient but, at the same time, more dependent on technology.
They may even become the first generation of teenagers to live through the metaverse, depending on how technology develops, with all the changes that this will bring to life as we know it.
They will probably live longer than any previous generation. They are also likely to be very climate aware because they have grown up since birth with the topic of climate change, and as such, this may lead to a greater sense of responsibility to look after the planet.
At the time of writing, Generation Alpha is the most recent generation to be named. As such, the name for the following generation has not been set yet. People are not thinking that far ahead.
However, unless there is a specific reason to call them something in terms of a generation-defining event (like Baby Boomers or Millennials), it’s a good bet that the next generation will be called Generation Beta, following the Greek alphabet. This generation will probably last from 2025 up to 2039.
All these generations can start to get a bit confusing. Here are some answers for clarity:
Is Generation Z and Alpha the same?
No, Generation Z is the generation that comes before Alpha. Many Alpha children will have older Gen Z brothers and sisters.
What is after Generation Gamma?
While there is no set name beyond Generation Alpha yet, if we continue to use the Greek alphabet as a guide, we can expect Generations Beta and Gamma to follow. Generation Delta will, therefore, likely follow gamma.
What is after Gen Delta?
It’s too early to know at this stage. ‘Epsilon’ is the next letter in the Greek alphabet, but this does not sound as catchy. By then, a whole new naming system may have existed.
What are the 7 living generations?
There are currently seven generations with set names, starting with the Greatest Generation, consisting of people born between 1901 and 1927, followed by the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y or Millennials, Generation Z, and now Generation Alpha.
We can expect to hear a lot more about Generation Alpha as they become teenagers and then young adults over the next decade. As with every new generation, they are going to have a huge impact on our world.
While we have some ideas about what Gen Alpha will be like, the next decade will start to provide more clarity.
It will be fascinating to find out how their views on politics, economics, the environment, and more differ from previous generations and shape the future of our world.