Note From the Editors: We're Looking at Generational Change With Issue 3

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Inside Edition Digital

Once a quarter, the award-winning journalists at Inside Edition Digital are digging into a specific topic, going deeper than the daily news cycle allows to bring you "The Issue," a series of articles and videos on a specific subject.

The concept of generations is kind of, well, wrong. It's misleading to suggest that a diverse collection of humans is reducible to a label like "Millennial" or "Boomer" based on when they were born. No group of millions of people can be accurately summed up with a single word. So, naturally, we've devoted months of reporting time to it. 

Because while grouping everyone born in a given decade under a single term is imperfect, the impacts of widespread events and trends on a group of people at about the same stages of life are meaningful. Baby Boomers grew up in postwar prosperity, and members of Generation Z (aka, the Zoomers) have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic while navigating adolescence and early adulthood. This matters. 

While many, many other factors matter, too, these shared experiences cut across individual circumstances. So while the way people deal with and are impacted by generation-affecting experiences is subject to race, class, gender, luck, individual makeup and more, the big things leave a mark. 

America is poised at a moment of dramatic demographic change. While Baby Boomers have seen four members of their generation serve as President of the United States, a member of the older, Silent Generation currently occupies the office. Millennials, already a massive social force in America, are now the largest adult generation and are gaining political might, and Gen Z, the most diverse generation in American history, is right behind them. (Generation X remains fine with being a parenthetical, we assume.)

At this moment of change, younger generations can feel that their experiences have been reduced to punch lines and trend pieces, while older generations can feel that things are changing too fast — or without their input. (Apologies on all counts, Gen X). All of the above is what we're looking at with The Issue 3: how history has shaped generations, how big events echo through time, how social mores change — and how all this works itself out on individuals.

- The Editors