Generation TBA: 1993-2002
May 28, 2010
According to my hypothesis, if you will be in your teens and/or (depending on whether you were born near the beginning or the end of the time-span 1993–2002) early 20s during the Twenty-Tens (2014–23, not to be confused with the 2010s), and if you will be in your 20s and/or 30s during the Twenty-Twenties (2024-33, not to be confused with the 2020s), then you are a member of a TBA (To Be Announced) cohort.
I won’t be writing anything about the TBA-ers. Why not? They’re too young! It’s bad enough that I wrote about the Social Darwikians before that cohort’s eldest had even reached their 30s. Check back in a decade or so. In the meantime, I’m using TBA as a placeholder moniker; it means nothing except: We don’t yet know anything about this cohort.
[The above text was written in 2010. I first theorized about this generation in a Boston Globe blog post from 2008. I was not willing to make generalizations about the 1994–2003 cohort at the time… and I’m still reluctant as I write this addendum in 2023. Surely I should allow its youngest members to reach their thirties before I attempt to characterize this cohort — right?]
A reminder of my 250-year generational periodization scheme:
1755-64: [Republican Generation] Perfectibilists
1765-74: [Republican, Compromise Generations] Original Romantics
1775-84: [Compromise Generation] Ironic Idealists
1785-94: [Compromise, Transcendental Generations] Original Prometheans
1795-1804: [Transcendental Generation] Monomaniacs
1805-14: [Transcendental Generation] Autotelics
1815-24: [Transcendental, Gilded Generations] Retrogressivists
1825-33: [Gilded Generation] Post-Romantics
1834-43: [Gilded Generation] Original Decadents
1844-53: [Progressive Generation] New Prometheans
1854-63: [Progressive, Missionary Generations] Plutonians
1864-73: [Missionary Generation] Anarcho-Symbolists
1874-83: [Missionary Generation] Psychonauts
1884-93: [Lost Generation] Modernists
1894-1903: [Lost, Greatest/GI Generations] Hardboileds
1904-13: [Greatest/GI Generation] Partisans
1914-23: [Greatest/GI Generation] New Gods
1924-33: [Silent Generation] Postmodernists
1934-43: [Silent Generation] Anti-Anti-Utopians
1944-53: [Boomers] Blank Generation
1954-63: [Boomers] OGXers
1964-73: [Generation X, Thirteenth Generation] Reconstructionists
1974-82: [Generations X, Y] Revivalists
1983-92: [Millennial Generation] Social Darwikians
1993-2002: [Millennials, Generation Z] TBA
LEARN MORE about this periodization scheme | READ ALL generational articles on HiLobrow.
HONORARY GENERATION TBA (born 1992): TBA
1993 (cuspers): Lucas Cruikshank (YouTube Personality — Fred Figglehorn), Angus T. Jones (actor, Jake on Two and a Half Men), Elian Gonzalez (Cuban refugee), Taylor Momsen (actor, Gossip Girl), Imani Hakim (actor, Tonya on Everybody Hates Chris), Keke Palmer (actor, Akeelah and the Bee), Niall Horan (Singer, One Direction), Zayn Malik (Singer, One Direction), Liam Payne (Singer, One Direction). HONORARY THROWBACKS: Miranda Cosgrove (Drake & Josh, Carly on iCarly), Scotty McCreery (American Idol contestant).
1994: Justin Bieber (teen idol), Dakota Fanning (actor), Harry Styles (Singer, One Direction), Earl Sweatshirt (OFWGKTA rapper), Nat Wolff (Musician, The Naked Brothers Band)
1995: McKayla Maroney (Olympic gymnast), Gabby Douglas (Olympic gymnast), Missy Franklin (Olympic swimmer), Trayvon Martin (Shot and killed by George Zimmerman), Jordyn Wieber (Olympic gymnast)
1996: Tavi Gevinson (fashion blogger), Abigail Breslin (actor, Little Miss Sunshine), Ryan Lee (actor, the kid with the braces in Super 8), Joel Courtney (actor, Super 8).
1997: Rebecca Black (reviled “Friday” songstress), Riley Griffiths (actor, Super 8)
1998: Jaden Smith (son of celebrities, actor), Elle Fanning (actor), Paris Jackson (daughter of Michael Jackson), Lil Poison (became a professional videogamer at age 6), Ariel Winter (actor, Alex Dunphy on Modern Family), Kara Hayward (actor, Moonrise Kingdom), Malia Obama (president’s daughter), Zachary Gordon (actor, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), and my son Sam (aspiring novelist).
2000: My son Max.
2001: Sasha Obama (president’s daughter).
2002 (cuspers): TBA
Note that Quvenzhané Wallis (actor, Beasts of the Southern Wild) was born in 2003.
READ MORE essays by Joshua Glenn, originally published in: THE BAFFLER | BOSTON GLOBE IDEAS | BRAINIAC | CABINET | FEED | HERMENAUT | HILOBROW | HILOBROW: GENERATIONS | HILOBROW: RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION | HILOBROW: SHOCKING BLOCKING | THE IDLER | IO9 | N+1 | NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW | SEMIONAUT | SLATE
Joshua Glenn’s books include UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen); and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: 100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS (with Rob Walker).
What do you think?
How will you defeat Strauss and Howe if you can’t even label a generation before they’ve had a chance to do anything. I say we call them the Anti-Abortifacients (because they’re parents didn’t believe in aborting them), the clone-masters (because they will make clones of themselves and kill us all) or the candy generation (because everyone born between 94 and 2003 seems to really like candy.
Take it to the next level and label them. Strauss and Howe have already determined they’ll be artists.
They’re the Singularity Generation: they’ll be the first to download themselves to their iPhones and live forever as apps.
The Cute Cthulhu Generation.
Dangit! My son is in this generation and I was hoping I’d get some parenting tips from you Josh. You have failed me!
Here’s a 2009 New York Times “Week in Review” trend piece about the so-called “Generation OMG.”
Excerpt: “Today’s youngest children — the recession babies — are being raised in the same kind of protective bubble as the Depression babies. (When [Neil] Howe’s Web site did a contest to name this next generation a few years ago, the winner was ‘the homelanders,’ as in security). They stroll in sidewalk versions of sport utility vehicles, learn to swim in U.V. protective full-body suits. So while today’s high school and college students will be the ones creating the new public agencies and Internet infrastructures, Mr. Howe predicts, those who follow ‘will come of age wanting to participate in a system they trust and take for granted’ — the next Silent Generation.”
Perhaps they could be:
[Txt Gnrtn] – Virtualists
Millennials, after all, were raised during the boom times and relative peace of the 1990s, only to see their sunny world dashed by the Sept. 11 attacks and two economic crashes, in 2000 and 2008. Theirs is a story of innocence lost.
Generation Z, by contrast, has had its eyes open from the beginning, coming along in the aftermath of those cataclysms in the era of the war on terror and the Great Recession, Ms. Greene said.
“If Hannah Horvath from ‘Girls’ is the typical millennial — self-involved, dependent, flailing financially in the real world as her expectations of a dream job and life collide with reality — then Alex Dunphy from ‘Modern Family’ represents the Gen Z antidote,” Ms. Greene said. “Alex is a true Gen Z: conscientious, hard-working, somewhat anxious and mindful of the future.”
Generational study being more art than science, there is considerable dispute about the definition of Generation Z. Demographers place its beginning anywhere from the early ’90s to the mid-2000s. Marketers and trend forecasters, however, who tend to slice generations into bite-size units, often characterize this group as a roughly 15-year bloc starting around 1996, making them 5 to 19 years old now. (By that definition, millennials were born between about 1980 and 1995, and are roughly 20 to 35 now.)
I have been studying this closely with great interest, being an Xer longing for my ‘little brother’ generation to grow up and give me some solidarity! It’s so lonely trying to relate to Millenials. I have a few Millenial friends but I’m tired of their historical amnesia and babysitting them. So… I would add I’ve found that Gen Z Homelanderers are 1.) much more individual than group-minded i.e. ‘who am I in the world?’ 2.) agree with pvs commentators that they’re fatalistic-hopefuls [whereaz us Xers were hopeful-turned-fatalistic] 3.) Love talking to adults. Ask any schoolteacher who has taught millenials and Zedders and theyll tell you Zedders are all like ‘tell me about your weekend Ms Jones’ AND they actually care! 4.) Most importantly, are seeking THE truth whereas Millenialls were seeking THEIR truth. This could be because millenials are so ‘tolerant’ and want everyone to be right [so if I call myself a 12 year old, 6″11 chinese woman when really i’m a 5″11 white guy in a tracksuit is ok by them, as long as ‘I’m not hurting anybody’]. This is apposite of a Zedder who is more individualisitc and knows that the truth is out there (X-files pun clearly intended), but they’ve been ripped off and denied the truth all their lives. Wait for a spiritual awakening from this group.
Hey, it’s been 10 years! I’m curious what you have to say now about this cohort.
– a 2005 baby
I have two sons in this cohort, and I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen…
Love your analyses on the generations, much more incisive and substance-focused than the arbitrary “end in neat years” drivel that organizations like Pew and the US Census keep pushing. This cohort’s now about the same age as the Throwbacks/Social Darwikians/”Classic Millennials” were when you first profiled the latter cohort, and there’s a strong tendency for those in this 1993-2002 bracket to identify themselves as “second-wave Millennials”, especially online (yes even the early 2000s). What’s your take on that, as far as using the “normal” generational labels goes? I feel that this cohort parallels the Recons, who form the majority of their parents, most closely.
I’d suggest R&B artist Joji, popularizer of the Harlem Shake, as a solid honorary ’92er for the TBA cohort. His internet comedy content as Filthy Frank/Pink Guy comes off as distinctly anarchic and alien to, and a clean break from, the Throwback zeitgeist, and he’s generally been much more influential to his youngers than his elders, helping usher in the “depressive-chill neon beats” aesthetic that’s very prevalent among so-called “Gen Z” or “zoomers”.
I am really digging these ranges, especially with the cusp/honorary year for a group as these generational cohorts are transitional. I wonder what you think of the 2003+ group if you make an update of this in the near future.
I actually like this better than a lot of the conventional generation listings I’ve seen! Also, thank you for including me (born in 2002) with my older peers whom I have more in common with. I’m interested to see what your name would be for us now that the oldest of our cohort would be 29. I’ve referred to us as “Second Wave Millennials” (SWMs), distinct from the First Wave Millennials (or, as you call them, Social Darwikians – love it!) but still Millennials all the same.
Gonna toss in indie(ish) EDM darling Porter Robinson, born July ’92, as a potential Honorary TBA. You can feel the cuspiness unfold in his Worlds album and Virtual Self EP.
Also, Joji is actually ’93, not ’92. The ’92 was an error by Apple Music/Wikipedia. He’s regardless a TBA cusper. https://www.reddit.com/r/PinkOmega/comments/d67rb9/can_everyone_just_collectively_share_this/
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