How Generation Alpha Got Its Name

Move over, Zoomers! There's a younger, cooler generation right behind Gen Z, of kids born between 2011 and 2025, according to sociologist Mark McCrindle (via Fluxtrends), who coined their name: Generation Alpha. This name makes them sound ahead of the pack, which is fitting, since if millennials and Generation Z were "digital natives," Generation Alpha is filled with "social media natives" — some members of Generation Alpha, like Prince George, have had a social media account since infancy. The first group of children born to millennials, this generation is expected to be the most well-educated and tech-adept generation ever, according to Fluxtrends.

But why is this generation really called Generation Alpha? It all goes back to Generation X. The name "Generation X" was chosen for the Americans born between the years 1965 and 1980, according to Britannica, because of the 1983 book "Class: A Guide Through the American Status System," which described an "X" group that didn't care about money, status, or social norms. Though the name X was just a descriptor of this seemingly outside-the-system cohort, an alphabetic naming system persisted, first with Generation Y (more commonly called millennials, since they came of age around the turn of the millennium, via NPR), and now with Generation Z (aka, Zoomers, though initially the media tried to make "iGen" and "Generation Wii" happen). The only problem? They got to the end of the alphabet.

A new start

In 2005, there were so many tropical storms that the typical alphabetical naming system for hurricanes was exhausted. Instead, scientists moved to the Greek alphabet, beginning with the letter alpha. This label was attached to the new generation after Generation Z as well, especially before social scientists could fully understand this mysterious group of new humans, whose oldest members are now 11, according to Mark McCrindle on his website.

The label made sense for other reasons as well. This generation is the first where every member is born in the 21st century — McCrindle says that they are "truly the first millennial generation" for this reason. Gen Alpha's name shows they're part of something new. When McCrindle and his collaborators issued a survey about potential names for this generation, they were flooded with responses that saw this generation as part of a new beginning: "Regeneration," "Generation Hope," "Generation New Age," and "Generation Y-not," were suggested, signifying a sense of optimism that this generation may come into time when issues like global warming have subsided. Good luck with that, Gen Alpha.