Biggest Generational Stereotypes

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.  (Animals)

Generations receive a great deal of attention from social scientists and marketers. They are often, however, broadly characterized and sometimes misunderstood. Fueling or implying these generational stereotypes in your marketing, communications, or organizational processes can hurt your employee engagement, brand identity, sales, and more. It is smart to be aware of these inaccurate characterizations so you can avoid being influenced by them.

Our team at Vernon Research was curious what each generation thought were the biggest misconceptions about their generation and who they thought misunderstood them most.

We asked our Iowa Opinion Panel members, and 1,314 of them provided feedback. Participants typed their top misconceptions into open-ended comment boxes in the survey. This avoided introducing bias or limiting their responses with a fixed list. We coded and tabulated the results.

We asked each participant, “What misconception that others have about your generation bothers you the most?” What follows are some of the findings.

The Silent Generation (Born 1925-1945)

silent generational stereotypes


“The misconception that if you are “old” you are old in your thoughts and attitudes.  As a 74-year old, I feel younger in my mind and mental state than I ever have.”

“The silent is inaccurate. We are outspoken and curious.”

“That none of us are tech savvy.”

“That we are rigid in our opinions.”

“We have nothing to contribute to the solution of the problems we have now.”


Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)

Baby Boomer Generational Stereotypes


“That we are the me generation.”

“That all boomers were hippies.”

“That we don’t embrace technology to the same extent that others do.”

“That we’re too old to have fun.”

“That we caused the problems that the following generations have.”


Generation X (Born 1965-1980)

Generation X Generational Stereotypes


“We are slackers.”

“We are bad parents.”

“Only focused on making money.”

“That we don’t understand social media.”

“That we are spoiled.”


Millennials/Generation Y (Born 1981-2000)

Generation Y Generational Stereotypes


“We are not hardworking and just want everything handed to us.”

“We are all entitled and overpraised.”

“That we don’t care about relationships, would rather have electronics in our faces.”

“That we are all stupid children who can’t figure out how to be adults.”

“That we’re somehow behind in life because we’ve decided to get married/start a family later than our parents and grandparents did.”


Interested in knowing which generations are considered the guiltiest for expressing these stereotypes?  Click on the following link to access the full report.

If you need ideas or help gathering your own consumer insights, contact Linda Kuster at or 319-364-7278, ext. 7104