The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Study says Gen Xers happy and balanced

The Korfhage Family is among the many family that are part of the Generation X. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/ [email protected]

Twenty years after they were defined by Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” the generation that grew up smelling like Teen Spirit is doing just fine, a recently released report by the University of Michigan’s Longitudinal Study of American Youth suggests.

Generation X, defined as the group of Americans born between 1961 and 1981, was reported to be active, balanced and happy.

The data for the study was collected over 24 years. Researchers recruited 4,000 volunteers, now in their mid-30s, in middle and high school to answer an annual questionnaire and provide telephone interviews.

The release is the first in a line of quarterly reports by the organization and is in response to the growing importance members of Generation X will play in politics and the economy in coming years.

“Members of Generation X will become the members of Congress and the occupants of the White House over the next two or three decades,” the report said.

The results painted Generation X to be highly educated and family oriented. Over half have some post-secondary education, with 43 percent having earned a baccalaureate degree. Two-thirds are married and a slightly larger number have children living with them.

Overall, participants in the program declared themselves to be relatively happy. On a scale of one to 10, the average level of life satisfaction was 7.5, even as some face hardships such as unemployment or imprisonment.

Most are employed, however, and 70 percent said they are happy with their current workplace.

Kevin Foley, a junior in the College of Education, said Generation X’s satisfaction may simply be a reflection of its financial success.

“I think personal success in a career might help to indicate happiness,” he said, adding that in a bad economy, careers are not the only source of happiness. “There is a lot of stress with the bad economy, but I don’t think that necessarily means they can’t be happy just because there are financial difficulties.”

Of further interest was the impact of the Internet and wireless technology on the lives of the group that grew up in the digital era. The study speculated that the use of social media helped to increase Generation X’s connectivity, even as membership in traditional clubs and organizations declined.

Ana Garner, an associate professor of journalism, said proficiency in social media contributes to this growing sense of social independence. She said online conversations involve interaction through the computer — essentially an intermediary.

“There are certainly advantages to this (interacting via computer), but ultimately, you’re still alone and not with others,” Garner said. “Physical interaction, talking to someone face to face and having to interact with people, requires a different kind of skills and is a different kind of interaction entirely.”

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *