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Those born same year (1961) as Obama identify not as Boomers or Xers, but instead identify overwhelmingly with Generation Jones (in-between)

In honor of Barack Obama’s 60th birthday, The Generations Institute commissioned a poll to help determine the former President’s generational identity. Obama was born in 1961 – a birth year in a much debated generational gray zone. Members of the Baby Boom Generation, Generation Jones, and Generations X have long debated which generation he belongs to. In this new poll, 1250 U.S. adults born in 1961 were asked to identify which generation they feel a part of. The clear majority indicated they feel part of Generation Jones in-between the Boomers and Xers.

Obama’s generational identity has been a much-discussed topic ever since he entered national politics. The traditionally-defined 1946-1964 birth years for the Baby Boom Generation are no longer accepted by many experts. The commonly used 1965-1980 Generation X birth years have become controversial as well. Many generational scholars increasingly argue there is a distinct generation in-between Boomers and X’ers, usually identified with the birth years 1954-1965 and called Generation Jones.

The Generations Institute –which studies all the living U.S. generations – decided to try to resolve the Obama question through a particularly reliable type of generational polling: self-identification. The poll was conducted July 12-19, 2021 with a nationally representative sample of 1250 Americans born in 1961. It asked: “Do you consider yourself to be a member of the Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, or the generation in-between (aka Generation Jones)?” The results showed Americans born in 1961 overwhelmingly feel in-between Boomers and Xers: 64% chose Generation Jones, while 19% chose Generation X, and 17% selected the Boomer Generation.

President Obama himself self-identifies with Generation Jones. He has stated: “I identify with this generation between the Baby Boomers and Generation X. My mother was a Baby Boomer, and I’m part of Generation Jones.”

Institute Director David Williams: “This issue of Mr. Obama’s generational identity has been debated since his arrival in national politics. The fact that such a large majority of same-aged respondents feel in-between Boomers and Xers is compelling, and is consistent with the emerging consensus among experts about the importance of Generation Jones.”

In addition to generational experts, many political commentators have also identified Obama as specifically part of Generation Jones including David Brooks (New York Times), Juan Williams (Fox News Channel), Karen Tumulty (Washington Post), and Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune) in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ta_Du5K0jk, and others in print, like the below examples:

Jonathan Alter in Newsweek: [https://www.newsweek.com/alter-twilight-baby-boom-93951]

“So it’s no surprise that Hillary Clinton (born 1947) would have a different generational identity from Barack Obama (born 1961). Late Boomers, dubbed “Generation Jones”…make up the largest share of the voter pie—26 percent…if we weren’t convincing flower children…we weren’t part of Generation X either.”

Jonathan Pontell in USA Today: [https://www.pressreader.com/usa/usa-today-us-edition/20090127/281822869684634]

“Obama carries the torch for the millions of Americans who aren’t really Boomers, but aren’t really Xers either…Obama has The Jones. It permeates his biography and his philosophy. It’s a crucial piece of his identity. His message and approach reverberate with GenJones themes.”

About The Generations Institute

The Generations Institute is an educational institute which studies the current American cultural generations