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The Pew Research Center has defined 1997 as the start of Generation Z, the generation that follows the millennial generation.

The Pew Research Center now defines millennials as individuals that were born between 1981 and 1996. Individuals born from 1997 onward have been classified as Generation Z.

Pew Research Center President Michael Dimock said that the differentiation was made to “keep the Millennial generation analytically meaningful.”

According to the Pew Research Center, generations are studied as groups to determine how viewpoints differ between generations. Generations also help researchers analyze different perspectives on significant world events and economic and social circumstances.

Lindsay Sanders, a sophomore studying sociology, said that there is a differentiation between generations.

“Our opinions are different,” Sanders said.

Chad Olsen, a senior majoring in marriage and family studies, believes that having the differentiation of generations can help students identify with a group.

“It can be a way of helping people understand themselves,” Olsen said.

Several factors played into the Pew Research Center defining 1997 as the start of Generation Z. They explained that different generations have different experiences with significant events.

Some of the events cited in the Pew Research Center’s decision to define the cutoff as 1997 were world events like 9/11, the 2008 economic recession and the increased prevalence of technology. Pew Research Center says that these events influenced millennials and Generation Z differently.

Olsen believes that looking back on the laws shaped by previous generations can give people perspective on how culture has changed.

“You can look at the different generations and have a better idea of what their outlook and mentality on life was,” Olsen said.

Sanders agrees that significant events shape different generations differently.

“As we move away from significant events in history, the issues we face now are different then the issues people faced then,” Sanders said.

Olsen said that students should be alert to how their generation is perceived

“Try to understand what’s going on and how other people are perceiving things,” Olsen said.


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