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Study Says Generation Xers Are Actually Happy

Generation X dinner party
Dinner Series, Flickr

The members of Generation X are no longer the melancholy slackers they once thought to be, but are actually a well-balanced and happy group, according to a new report.

The Generation X Report is the first in a quarterly series from the University of Michigan’s Longitudinal Study of American Youth. The research includes interviews, questionnaires and tests from 4,000 Gen X participants, born between the years of 1961 and 1981, who have been involved in the study since 1987.

The mission of the study is to write the history and monitor the future of Generation X.

“We hope that this series of reports will serve to correct some of the misunderstandings and misstatements about Generation X that have appeared in the media,” says The Longitudinal Study of American Youth on its website. “Some commentators have characterized Generation X as being less successful than their parents and perhaps less ambitious than their parent’s generation.” Similar distorted comments referred to Gen X as depressed, isolationist, slackers, who are pessimistic about marriage, and neglectful parents.

According to the study, on a happiness scale of 1 to 10, members of Generation X recorded an average score of 8, and reported extensive social, occupational and community networks outside of immediate family with two-thirds of respondents claiming they entertain friends for dinner at least once a month.

The study also indicated that 86 percent of Generation X is employed and 70 percent devote 40 or more hours to work each week. Also, with divorce rates down since 1996, a higher percentage of Gen Xers stay married than Boomers, with 83 percent of respondents reporting that finding the right person to marry and having a happy family life is important to them.

These results support findings in a recent marketing study that stated that members of Generation X have become “technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists” and continue to fuel debate over whether there is a passing of the torch from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers underway.


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