Two Different Generations of Seniors

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Among people aged 55+, two sociological generations can be identified: The Silent and the Baby Boomers generations. What is the difference between the two?

A generation is a group of people with almost the same age at a given time and who have experienced the same historical events: politically, economically, socially and technologically. Although the Baby Boomers and Silent generations are close to each other, they do not have a lot in common.

The Baby Boomers Generation

Baby boomer woman

 

 

Baby Boomers were born after World War II. They are, by the way, the wealthiest retired people since they started their careers in a full-employment context and have inherited a comfortable retirement pension. They are the main target for the Silver economy’s players.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Silent Generation

Silent generation woman

 

 

 

Seniors belonging to the Silent generation are born between the Great Depression of 1930 and World War II. They were 20 years old during the 1950s and are currently 75 years old. Most of them live alone as a result of their advanced age.

They are called the Silent Generation because they are known for working hard and never protesting. It is said that they are very respectful towards hierarchy, established orders and are loyal to social institutions and their employers. They also show a certain resistance to change and are hard workers.

 

 

Opposite values

The Baby Boomers generation
1945 – 1964
Silent generation
Born before 1940
Freedom
Breaking away and changing
Escaping as « backpackers »
Individualism
Hedonism
Role of women
Family and love
Humour
New experiences in the face of old age
Commitment
Altruism
Loyalty
Tradition
Inheritance
Saving, no waste
Family
Resigned to ageing

Baby Boomers are known for being big spenders, contrary to the previous generation who save more. They were under 20 when hypermarkets started appearing in the 1960s. They are affluent and sometimes considered as self-centred. They did not suffer any deprivations linked to World War II and grew up with globalization. People aged 75+ are rather loyal to local businesses, clothing brands, etc. They are attached to traditions and give great importance to family and inheritance: for example, passing on a big wardrobe which he/she inherited himself/herself.

Baby Boomers give far more importance to love and their spouses. They get divorced more frequently than their parents. Women have supported the emancipation of women and a lot of them have led a professional career and forged a home at the same time. Therefore, women from this generation have more freedom and are less dependent on their husbands.

Contrary to the Silent generation, Baby Boomers are not resigned to ageing. They see retirement as a period which will bring new opportunities : they remarry, embark on long trips, new projects, etc.

This generation phenomenon follows cycles. We find within the  Z generation (children born from the 1990s onward), many values found in the Silent generation :

  • altruism and commitment towards civic services and the community;
  • inheritance, with ecological and environmental causes (passing on a habitable planet instead of a wardrobe), the development of new eating habits (vegetarians, vegans, etc.);
  • savings, with the development of the collaborative economy (BlablaCar, AirBNB) and locally grown food schemes, etc.

Sources (French language) :
– http://www.salondesseniors.com/qui-sont-les-seniors/3-generations-de-seniors
– http://www.francetvinfo.fr/france/les-baby-boomers-une-generation-de-chanceux_1301151.html
– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82JDb9mSVFg
– Seniosphère Conseil


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