How Generation Z Got Its Name

According to Insider Intelligence, anyone born between 1997 and 2012 is now considered part of Generation Z. Often referred to as simply Gen Z, the Pew Research Center writes that they are more "racially and ethnically diverse" than previous generations. Perhaps what makes this group so distinct is the impact technology has had on them. Most don't remember a world before smartphones and other devices. In other words, they are digital natives and considered more technologically advanced. Nonetheless, they strongly resemble their predecessors, Millennials.

Like Millennials, Gen Zers have similar values, as seen by both generations' progressive views. Stanford News reports that members of Gen Z are "highly collaborative" with a "pragmatic attitude." It's no wonder that Gen Z is most likely to go to college or have a college-educated parent. As for finance and business, it's predicted that they will have "huge spending power by 2026." Per another article from the Pew Research Center, Generation Z were first called "Post-Millennials," but the moniker didn't last.

It's all thanks to Generation X and Generation Y

The Pew Research Center reports that the titles "iGeneration" and "Homelanders" were considered before they settled on Generation Z. However, they "hesitated" with this label due to the generation's young ages (all are in their early 20s or are teens). Nonetheless, Gen Z stuck. According to Distractify, the "Z" in Gen Z "doesn't actually stand for anything specific." In fact, it has everything to do with the previous generations, Generation X and Generation Y. Dictionary writes that Generation X are those born between 1960 and 1980. Generation Y are none other than Millennials.

Per Forbes, the term Millennials was created in 1991 by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss for their book "Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069." They predicted that Generation Y was going to be wildly different from previous generations because kids were being raised with more "structure and protection." Thus, they decided it needed "a distinct name" and the term Millennial was born. 

That being said, Generation Z is named so simply because it succeeds Generation X and Y. As the Willamette Week explained in 2018, however, it's likely that the name will eventually change. What comes after Z? That generation is being called Generation Alpha, at least for now (via The Atlantic).