Gen X Today: My life. My way.

Hiding in plain view since the 1990s, Gen X has been quietly changing the world. Who are they now and what are their lives like? Our new study launches today at ESOMAR Congress.

Think about the last time you heard about Generation X.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Sandwiched between Boomers and Millennials, Gen X represent well over a quarter of the global population* but have largely been ignored. Owing to the lack of information about them, they’ve been targeted with messages reflecting adulthood as experienced by Boomers.

Viacom’s latest international study, Gen X Today, asks what has become of global adults ages 30 to 49**, and offers an in-depth picture of what their lives are like now.

Unveiled by Christian Kurz, Anna Noel Taylor and James Guerrier this morning at ESOMAR Congress 2016 in New Orleans, this research found that while out of view, this generation was busy disrupting established norms.

To understand Gen X, Viacom surveyed 12,000 people in 21 countries, collected 1,000 images through photo-journals, and hosted a series of intimate dinner discussions and ethnographic interviews in 8 countries.

The project reveals a demographic that has, quite happily, established their lives on their own terms and in their own way. Gen X are highly confident and comfortable with who they are, with 9 out of 10 saying they identify with both descriptions.

The traditional milestones of marriage, homeownership and children are not their highest priority, with only 39% having achieved all three. While off the global radar, they took the expectations that once defined adulthood, dissolved them, and created something new in their place.

In fact, they’re the force behind many recent socio-cultural transformations often associated with Millennials. From social media participation to flexible work arrangements to the acceptance and normalization of a wider range of relationships, one thing is clear: Gen X did it first.

They may have disappeared from public conversation, but they never stopped exerting their influence. They don’t often call attention to themselves, but they’re perilous to ignore.

Gen X are trailblazers. They’re leading movements to achieve equality for people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations. They’re driving change in our governments and workplaces. They’re the consumers with disposable income making household purchase decisions.

They’ve been hiding right there in plain view, quietly changing the world.

It’s essential to know who they are.

Click here to see all articles from this project.

*United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, July 2015 (27% of the 0+ population is age 30 to 49)

** Generational divides shift from country to country, typically triggered by major cultural events. For this study, we explored the more global age range of 30 to 49.