Naming the Next Generation Speaker Q&A: Neil Howe

On June 26th Ypulse will be Naming the Next Generation. Neil Howe, author, historian and generational guru, will be joining us in our quest to find a name for post-Millennials that fits their unique generational experience. Neil has been a pioneer in generational theory, writing nine books on American generations.  Along with William Strauss, he first coined the term “Millennials,” describing this generation with remarkable foresight as far back as 1991. We can think of no one better to help us to name the next generation, in fact, we wouldn't have dreamed of trying without Neil's help. Today Neil tells us about why we need to move away from the term “Gen Z,” how post-Millennials will be the oldest group to not recall a time before the Great Recession, and how this generation could be like Millennials ... on steroids.
 
Ypulse: What do you think is the biggest difference between Millennials and post-Millennials?
Neil Howe: I think it’s important to establish what we mean when referring to “Millennials” and “post-Millennials.” My definition for “post-Millennials” includes those born after 2004, so these are kids currently just entering grade 2 of elementary school. Yes, that date remains tentative. You can’t be sure where history will someday draw a cohort dividing line until a generation fully comes of age into adulthood. But since there are good reasons why social generations tend to be 20 or so years long, I am naturally suspicious of a definition that abruptly limits Millennials to only 10 or 15 birth years.
 
Right now, the biggest difference is the emphasis on socialization, pushed on them largely by their Gen-X parents and teachers. Post-Millennials are being taught from a very early age to inhibit their impulses, control their behavior, and play well with others. This goes…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“The wedding trend I have noticed is the white wedding dress being phased out and an array of colors and styles being used.”

—Female, 32, FL

Millennials are about to receive “one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history,” according to UBS. This comes right as they reach peak earning age, making Millennials a powerful spending force—so how can Wall Street pull their purse strings? Besides transparent business practices, they’re expecting on-demand everything across all channels. Easily-navigable banking apps and mobile-first financial advice services are must-haves to impress them. (Business Insider)

Today’s teens are having safer sex, according to a CDC report. Not only are fewer teens having sex, but those that are, are more likely to be using contraceptive methods. Compared to 1988, 9% fewer 15-19-year-old females and 16% fewer males have had sex. The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. also hit a historic low, with 99.4% of female teens who have had sex using contraception at least once, compared to 97.7% in 2002. (CBS)

Most young consumers use ad blockers, but they don’t always mind seeing ads online—as long as their “space” is respected. Defy Media and TMI Strategy found that 13-25-year-olds were open to seeing ads that are contextually relevant and informative, and don’t interrupt their experience. Anything that “clogs their feed” is off the table, but they’re not averse to all ad placements: 78% don’t consider product placement offensive, 62% follow at least one branded account, and 44% are subscribed to a branded newsletter. (Adweek)

The future of Facebook is going to be a bit more private. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the platform’s new mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Connecting with friends and family will come back to the forefront, with Groups as a “lynchpin” of this “next era” to make smaller communities and more closed-circle communication a focus, instead of the cluttered public feed. (NYMag)

Japan’s Millennials would stay at one company for life, defying the job-hopping stereotype in favor of job security. From 2001-2015, the percentage of Japan’s Millennials who supported lifelong employment and one-company careers skyrocketed from 64% and 40% to 87% and 55%, respectively. In fact, last year, less than 7% of 25-34-year-olds switched jobs at all. Overall, Japanese employees leave jobs at less than half the rate of Americans, and younger Japanese workers are “even more risk averse.” (Bloomberg)

“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

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