15 Extraordinary Facts About Generation X (1965-1980)

Generation X Facts



Ever wondered what makes Generation X truly extraordinary?

Well, get ready to dive into a whirlwind of fascinating facts about the generation sandwiched between the iconic boomers and tech-savvy millennials.

From witnessing the birth of personal computers to coining iconic slang like “chill pill” and “dude,” Gen Xers have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.

So, sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by these 15 extraordinary facts about Generation X!

The term “Generation X” was first used in the early 1950s.

A WWII plane flies above a fleet of ships

A photographer named Robert Capa used the term for his photo essay featuring those who reached adulthood right after World War II. As you can see, though, this meaning didn’t catch on.

Generation X was popularized in 1991 by Douglas Coupland, who, at this time, used the term to refer to people born in the late 1950s and 1960s in his book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.

Generation X is anyone born between 1965 and 1980.

A woman in the 1950s standing in front of an open fridge

This makes the parents of most Gen Xers either the silent generation or boomers.

Generation X was also the first generation named simply after a letter of the alphabet. It was followed by Generation Y (millennials), Generation Z (zoomers), and Generation Alpha.

Some people refer to Gen Xers as the “forgotten middle child” because they are between the often polarizing boomers and millennials.

Gen Xers witnessed the invention of personal computers.

A collection of original Apple computers

In 1974, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems released the Altair 8800, the first commercially successful personal computer.

Then, two years later, Steve Jobs cofounded Apple and released the Apple I.

These notable inventions during the late Gen X years paved the way for the beginning of a tech-savvy generation.

However, since personal computers during those times were so expensive (and buying them was way more complicated), it’s no wonder that Gen Xers aren’t the most tech-savvy generation.

Generation Xers spent more money in 2021 than anyone else.

A piggy bank surrounded by falling dollar bills

People born into Gen X are sometimes known as the “sandwich generation.”

Sadly, this isn’t because they eat lots of sandwiches but because they quite often have to simultaneously financially support both their aging parents and their children.

So, it should be no surprise that 2021 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that Gen Xers were spending a whopping $83,357 yearly!

According to the study, housing accounts for the largest portion of each generation’s spending.

Here, too, Gen X spent more than the other generations at an average of $26,385 per year.

ATMs were invented during this generation.

A person's hand taking money out of an ATM

To be fair, the first attempts to create something like an automated teller machine (ATM) began in the early 1960s, at the end of the Boomer era.

The first true ATM, though, was introduced by Barclays Bank in London, United Kingdom, in 1967.

The invention of ATMs played a crucial role in the lives of Gen Xers since it made handling personal finance more convenient, thereby revolutionizing the way they accessed their hard-earned money.

“Chill pill” and “dude” are some examples of Gen X slang.

A bottle of bright blue pills with the label "Chill Pills"

Originating in 1981, “take a chill pill” became Gen Xers’ alternative phrase to let others know they should calm down.

On the other hand, “dude” was popularized by Gen Xers.

At its inception, “dude” typically described guys who were too concerned with their appearance.

According to etymologists, it came from the phrase “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Work-life balance is a must for Gen X.

Small wooden blocks with the words "work" and "life" balanced on either side of a small human cutout

Gen Xers were raised by workaholic parents, who gave them a glimpse of how exhausting it is to put so much effort and time into work.

Another difference between Gen Xers and their parents is their perception of work.

Boomers and the silent generation see work as a means to survival, but Gen Xers tend to see it as doing something meaningful or fulfilling one’s purpose in life.

Gen Xers value work-life balance so much that they’re not afraid to find other job opportunities if a company isn’t giving them the fulfillment they’re after!

They’re also called the “MTV Generation.”

The MTV logo with special rainbow and stars decorations

MTV was a music video channel that launched in 1981. In its early years, most of its viewers were Gen Xers, who were still teenagers.

This is why Gen Xers were also referred to as the “MTV Generation” since their generation witnessed the change in how people listened to songs through music videos.

But more importantly, MTV helped Gen Xers discover their music taste, which revolved around different types of rock, like punk rock, grunge, and heavy metal.

Elon Musk is one of the most famous people from Generation X.

Elon Musk in front of one of his SpaceX projects

Elon was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. However, he left his hometown in 1989 to study abroad, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and economics.

He’s known for achieving numerous business feats, such as cofounding PayPal, investing in Tesla, establishing SpaceX, and buying X (formerly Twitter).

However, his first big break was in 1999 when he sold an online city guide software company called Zip2, selling it for $307 million ($574 million in 2024).

Throughout his career, people’s perceptions of Elon are polarized. While some praise him for his work ethic and wit, others criticize him for his misleading statements and unethical behavior.

Gen X has the most self-made billionaires out of all generations.

A wealthy looking couple toasting their drinks on a private plane

According to Visual Capitalist, about 80% of this generation’s billionaires were self-made, with the majority of them residing in Beijing, China.

Some examples of these Chinese self-made billionaires born in Generation X are Ma Huateng and Colin Huang.

The former founded a renowned instant messaging app in China named QQ, while the latter established Pinduoduo, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms.

In general, though, Gen X billionaires worldwide mostly got their wealth from technology, manufacturing, or finance.

Gen Xers tend to be renters.

A couple being showing a prospective rental accommodation

While they do want to own a home soon, higher rent rates and little to no increase in their wages hinder them from having enough money for a down payment on a property.

However, Gen Xers choosing to rent isn’t solely due to financial challenges. Some Gen Xers choose to remain renters due to its benefits.

Some examples are finding job opportunities elsewhere, becoming a digital nomad, or avoiding maintenance costs.

People born in this generation tend to have higher lead exposure.

A sign on an old gas pump that says "Contains Lead"

The use of leaded gasoline in the US was finally banned in 1996, but not before it caused lasting damage to the health of countless people.

In the later years of its use, leaded gasoline use petered out with increasing public awareness of the health problems it causes.

Its use peaked around the 1960s and 1970s, though, when early Gen Xers were still kids.

As it turns out, lead exposure wasn’t just a drawback for Gen Xers’ health. It was also a major problem for their intelligence, causing the average child of this era to lose around six IQ points!

They’re known for being independent.

Two young children walking to school on their own

In their childhood years, a lot of Gen Xers brought their own keys to school, as their parents weren’t home due to work.

There’s a term for this, and it’s called “latchkey,” which then explains why Generation X is also referred to as the latchkey generation.

Anyhow, aside from being self-reliant at an early age, other characteristics that are typically seen in Gen Xers include resourcefulness, resiliency, and skepticism toward authority.

Managerial roles are common jobs for Gen Xers.

A man in a suit sitting at a desk signing papers

Since Gen Xers are inclined toward leadership and independence, choosing management as a career is a no-brainer.

To be more specific, some common Gen X jobs include warehouse manager and human resources director. In the US, the former has a national average salary of $62,901, while the latter receives $99,089.

They experienced the second wave of feminism.A young woman with a megaphone shouting in the wind

The first wave of feminism is defined as a period of feminism between 1848 and 1920, during which women fought for equality. One of the key wins for the first wave was gaining the right to vote.

The second wave occurred a few decades later, around the 1960s to 1980s, when most Gen Xers were teenagers.

One of the defining ideas of the second wave was that women were tired of being stuck in the traditional roles of wives and mothers, looking after the house and children.

The end result was increases in women’s pay and increased rights of reproductive freedom.


From their innovative contributions to technology to their steadfast commitment to independence, Gen Xers have left an indelible mark on history.

So, here’s to the sandwich generation, the MTV generation, and everything in between.

The next time you hear someone refer to them as the forgotten middle child, remember these extraordinary facts and give them the recognition they deserve!

About The Author

Aaron Lao
Aaron Lao

Aaron is a freelance eCommerce content writer and email marketer. He's on a mission to learn a lot about different subjects in his lifetime. When he isn't writing, expect him to work on his hobbies while documenting his progress.

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