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What is Generation Jones?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Generation Jones is a term coined by cultural historian Jonathon Pontell to refer to a group of people, mostly in the US and the UK, born between the years of 1954-1965. Some suggest the end date on Generation Jones is really 1968. This population group would formerly have been classed as either Baby Boomers, especially the oldest members, or as Generation X for the youngest members.

Pontell, and many others claim that the statistical importance of Generation Jones can’t be underestimated. They were the early computer pioneers, and include people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Further, they have a strong tendency to influence elections and they are an extremely valuable market group to advertisers. About a third of Internet users are Generation Jones members, and many of the major corporations and corporate structures of today are due to Gen Jones members, also called Jonesers.

There’s still disparity among this group in terms of political orientation and personal history. The earliest Jonesers would have been either influenced by or directly involved in the sexual revolution. They would remember the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. Some would have served in Viet Nam or at least have strong memories of the conflict. Other Jonesers, especially when the end year of Gen Jones is extended out to the late 60s, would have reached maturity in the 1980s and have little to no memory of these events.

The term Joneser comes from the idea of the conspicuous consumption of the 1980s, and the idea of keeping up with the Joneses. The older members of Generation Jones could have been the first Yuppies, and constitute some of the age of excess that the early 1980s represents to historians. There are literally thousands of articles interpreting the importance of Generation Jones in a variety of contexts.

Perhaps most important of these interpretations is predictions based on Gen Jones influence on politics. Older Generation Jones members tend to be more conservative in their politics. Yet the group as a whole is known for being volatile when it comes to politics. They’re more likely to vote for a candidate out of their political party if they want change. Jonesers are thought largely responsible in the US for the election and re-election of President George W. Bush, but also for the 2006 turnaround when voters successfully elected a Democratic majority Senate and House of Representatives.

Since Generation Jones makes up a valuable population in terms of commercial and buying power, advertisers are seeing the group as extremely important and may market to them. In particular the quick development of new technology, the latest cell phone, iPod, or computer is Joneser directed and relies on the idea that these formerly conspicuous consumers still want the latest in technological toys.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a America Explained contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003436 — On Jun 24, 2020

I am on the early end (1955), but I can relate to almost all the posted comments. I had a brother five years older so adapted a wide span for music (60's through 70's). Remember watching the early Boomer college eruptions and thinking they weren't anti-establishment, but rather they wanted to be the establishment. (Spoiled Brats.) I developed a hefty distrust of institutions watching them being kidnapped one after another and then replacing their public purpose with private. Watched the devolution of Western Culture because no one was minding the intellectual stockpile. (Learned more on my own than in formal education).

I delayed home ownership and family because interest rates were rocket-high. And yes, it was me who made sure the parents remained safe in their advanced years. Interestingly, WWII and aftermath created geographic mobility so that the Boomers and us Boomers lite were less likely to grow up near extended family. My wife (1957) and I relocated back to our home town so that our kids (84 and 88) would have the stability of an extended family (especially grandparents) -- something I missed.

By catcher7 — On Apr 09, 2016

In a metaphoric and definite sense, if the Beatles are the godfathers of the Boomers, then the Stones are the godfathers of the Jonesers. Coming just after, witnessing all, but with a totally different bent and attitude.

I was born in December 1957, (Australia). I always thought boomers didn't quite get the Stones, but they fully understood the Beatles. I saw the emergence of Beatlemania, I witnessed the great 60s zeitgeist: Watergate, Vietnam, cold war, the Mansons, culminating with man on the moon. I related more to Altamont than Woodstock, but understood both, and indulged in both their poisons: alcohol and drugs. I invented the 12 year old drug addict. I invented punk rock. I finally understood C, S & N when Y was added. I frequented AC/DC concerts, while those in the UK watched the Pistols and Americans went to CBGBs. I questioned everything, especially the hypocrisy of the Silent and Boomer generations. I invented the new wave from punk to technology, from Pistols to Kraftwerk. The epitome of my generation could be defined as a cross between Max Keiser and Steve Jobs. I am Generation Jones.

By anon993934 — On Dec 30, 2015

I disagree with the range of years for Generation Jones. I would begin it in 1955 because in March, 1973, President Ford ended compulsory draft registration requirement for all 18-to 25-year-old males. The youngest would've been born in 1955. Ending after 1963. It would've been a different world for babies born in 1964.

By RNeb57 — On May 31, 2014

I was born in late 1957. I am definitely Gen Jones--grew up fast, last one invited to events (ending as I arrived), joined conversations-- just as they were ending, and was expected to "fall in line" with six older siblings, but never invited to, or knowing why or directly shared in the benefits. I wore lots of ill fitting "hand-me-downs", etc. Lots of "secrets" not shared. I felt like an outsider for most of my first 30 years.

"Crack the whip" was a constant game most of my older sibs played on me. I was good-natured and took it.

Most of the older six siblings had /have "entitlement issues," and years of expensive therapy can't crack their decades of denial. It's too late for them. Irony.

I did much more than my fair share of the work, including lots of care for my parents before they passed in 1992 and 1996, while I had my own young family and career to care for. I was proud to help.

My siblings simply lobbed verbal crybaby grenades at my folks as they faded. Few offered or did actually help. Cancer is slow and does not discriminate; it attacks many. Now, they are experiencing their own health issues and are begging for help -- help they really don't need. Irony again.

Now, I know why I am cynical, filled with an appreciation of irony and openly espouse now that Boomers should, retire, pass on and give up control to the next generation.

"Boomer Pigs" is an ironic take on Baby Boomers who hounded the World War II generation as pigs. Ironic, n'est pas ?

I really don't like Boomers. Most are self-centered, self-absorbed and greedy people. Time has just made this clearer. I don't blame their/ my parents because no one made their kids become brats.

My parents (Depression era) worked hard and sacrificed much. I learned much from them. Why didn't my sibs? I don't know. Big irony, here.

Angry? No. Wiser, yes. All of Gen Jones seems to feel this way. It's like the heroic horse in George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

I only hope we Gen Jones members are more fair, equanimous, and honest with the next generation(s).

This is as it should be. After all, unlike the Boomers, we don't own the earth. We Jones-ers realize we are just renting it for a short while.

Next November, vote young, i.e., 960 births or later. Retire the Boomers. --Stumper lover

By anon941533 — On Mar 23, 2014

I read the Fourth Turning several years ago with much dissatisfaction. I strongly agree that they got the years wrong because the demographic baby boom does not reflect the social changes of the time period.

The Silent Generation was actually the mid 20s to the late 30s. Then came the Boomers (who should be named something else, maybe Culture Clashers). Gen-Jones was next from the mid 50s to mid 60s.

As others have pointed out, we faced different issues. I remember how my 30ish professors in college in the late 70s were frustrated because we were not like our predecessors who had social causes. Our social causes were ourselves. We were worried about ourselves because no one else was going to do it for us.

By anon927161 — On Jan 22, 2014

I was born at the end of 1964, so I grew up believing I was a tail-end Baby Boomer, too old to be a true Gen Xer. However, I started to realize I was Bobby Brady as far as other Baby Boomers were concerned. I wasn't old enough to be treated like most Boomers thought they should be treated. I now see myself as more of a wise uncle to the Gen X crowd I spent more time with at school.

I'm old enough to remember all of the great bands and singers of the late 60s, and I was around for important historical events like Kent State and the moon landings. But I'm too young to remember what life was like under Eisenhower or JFK, and I had to watch a lot of 60s television shows in first run syndication. The Baby Boomers ahead of me are currently the ones running the show, but they're also about to retire. It will be people in Generation Jones who will be in charge for the next decade or so.

By anon357402 — On Dec 03, 2013

I was born 1961 and what I learned are those which had been the practices of the 50s generation that extend up to the 60s gradually faded on the mid 70s.

The music of Elvis (50s), Beatles (60s), the hippie ways of dressing and the militarization of my country during martial law had all influence on my psyche. I can say that I learned the ways of the 50s, and much of the 60s up to the 70s because those were my formative years. I am sure I am a Joneser, but I was initially molded by the ways of the baby boomers reinforced by the ways of the generation of the 70s to 80s.

By anon355958 — On Nov 20, 2013

I was born in 1964 and always knew I was not a Boomer or a GenXer. Generation Jones all the way! I just wrote a blog post about it and did a Q & A with Jonathan Pontell, who coined the phrase.

By anon348184 — On Sep 14, 2013

I was born in 63, so I'm Gen Jones all the way.

I grew up during the era where the middle class could only be sustained if mom entered the work force. I hated the fact as a kid, Watergate was on all three channels all the time. I am from the first generation in the U.S. who knew in our hearts that the best most of us could hope for is to not be too far behind our parents economically. I hate the idiotic, self-centered Boomers and never considered myself to be one of them, or of Gen X either.

My music is Rick Derringer, Foghat, Nazareth, AC/DC, Zeppelin and Aerosmith.

In high school, we didn't need fences around school. There were shotgun racks (with shotguns) in pickups in the student parking lot. It was no big deal then. Beer and weed were everywhere at the school and it was pre-AIDS sex.

This was when 95 percent of cars were rear wheel drive and a 650 was considered a pretty big motorcycle.

I thought MTV was OK when it came out, and later realized it ruined music forever. Does anyone else remember when the movie "Road Warrior" with Mel Gibson came out? I remember thinking that future for humanity seemed fairly likely.

By anon346814 — On Sep 01, 2013

I'm also happy to find a place to fit, finally, all these years later. I was born in 1962, grew up in schools with big, empty wings full of stored desks and chairs from the baby boomers. I knew I wasn't one. I Couldn't find a job when I graduated. The Yuppies were big then, young and upwardly mobile, but there was no job for me.

Later, as a young married woman, I heard the term Generation X, but not applied to me, and I said to my husband, "Where is our title?" He said, "We weren't important enough to get one." That's us -- cynical and disillusioned. We make our own way, though, don't we?

By sarahhr — On Jul 20, 2013

The more I read, the more sense this is (barely) making. My mum was talking to me earlier about this, and she said she doesn't consider herself a part of the same generation as my dad. My dad was born in 1952, and she was born in 1961. They remember different things and while there are only 9 years between them, I think she's right.

I've read the other articles as well, regarding Generation X and Y (this all started when I questioned how I at 25 (1988) could be in the same 'generation' as my 11 year old cousin (2002) according to the internet) as I was informed my mum was Gen X and therefore in the same generation as a friend of mine born in 1981, which she disagreed with. I'll have to inform her she's actually Generation Jones instead!

By anon337496 — On Jun 05, 2013

So this is the crazy Fox News generation that buys ammo and supplies, and they hope the world will end so that they can be rescued from a world that no longer belongs to them.

By chieftain — On Apr 05, 2013

1965: I've always considered myself an "Older Xer" or a "Tweener" or anything but that vain generation calling itself the "Boomers."

1960s music makes me cover my ears and holler. Psychedelic fashion makes me dizzy. The smell of wacky tobacky makes me physically ill. So I guess I'm a Joneser, someone who relates better to my grandparents than my parents.

Nope, we're not into materialism, brand names, self-centered we're-spending-our-children's-inheritance it's-all-about-me attitudes.

Survivors of Ronald Reagan's Depression burned by credit card debt, student loans, runaway corporate greed, and unaffordable housing, we are highly self-reliant. We put what little money we have into community credit unions rather than banks, invest in small-time stocks with companies believing in social responsibility, and if we knew how, we'd start canning everything like our grandparents did.

In short, we are highly cynical but haven't completely lost our faith, defiantly independent because we've been let down so many times, and we are always, always saving for that rainy day we know is just around the corner.

By anon328242 — On Apr 02, 2013

I was morn in May 1962, the youngest of nine, who were all born in the 40/50's. I went to high school in the 70's and never felt like a part of my family's generation.

I keep in contact with old friends who lived through those times with me. They are the only ones who understand.

I spent my fun time in New York City and concert halls. I took lots of drugs and booze, but I knew when to put it behind me. I wouldn't change those years for anything! It's nice to finally be a part of something bigger! I will tell my 50-something friends now.

By anon327825 — On Mar 31, 2013

I finally found my marketing demographic. I was born in 1964. Having older brothers born in the 1950's and one younger born in 1970, I always felt I was in the middle somewhere in between the two. The biggest distinction is when it came to music. As a child and young teen, I was fortunate to listen to a lot of my older brothers music, The Who, Buffalo Springfield, C.S.N.Y, etc. while my younger brother and his friends liked Metallica. I never really felt it was my music. I appreciated it, but it wasn't mine in the truest sense. I thought I was always caught in some wave between the two, though now know I was just Jonesing along.

By anon307931 — On Dec 07, 2012

Solid Generation Jones here -- September 1962. I never felt I was part of the baby boomers. Nice to have a classification of our own, huh?

By anon254573 — On Mar 13, 2012

I am so glad to have to be separated from the Boomers. I never did relate to them. I was born in late 1960, and was a teen of the 70's -- the beginning of punk movement -- a far cry from Woodstock.

Does anyone remember somewhere in the 70's the media or whoever calling us then teens the me generation?

By anon177644 — On May 18, 2011

Born in 1961, I can relate to everyone here. I just ignored the baby boomer label because I knew it wasn't me. I had an older sister who was a boomer all the way and so I always tried to relate to the boomers but all I got were put downs in return and rubbed in my nose how I couldn't be there for Woodstock, etc. Well, sorry, but we were there for our own party and we wouldn't have missed it for the world. And, yes, I'd rather listen to the B52s than Bob Dylan any day.

By anon143229 — On Jan 15, 2011

I never could understand how I was a baby boomer. Born in 63, World War II was my grandfather's war and Vietnam was my uncle's war. It's nice to have a place to finally fit in.

By anon138954 — On Jan 03, 2011

The first national exposure Of GenJones was disco demolition at White Sox park. The Boomers gave us Disco and we rejected the commercial lifestyle and fashion of that trend. Boomers were pigs. They were 10 years older and cheating on their wives at discos, giving our girls drugs and flashing their money around. They had no morals. Woodstock blows and so do they.

By anon133602 — On Dec 11, 2010

I grew up in a family of boomers. As a late life child I was a full decade behind most of my nearest in age siblings.

I was born in 1962 and never felt connected to the group behind me in the boomers. No matter what my generation did, it was always a case of "been there, done that, paved that path for you".

I think the challenges that the Jones generation have faced have been significant and the contention that Part 1 of the Boomers just handed it all to us on a platter has been a great part of that challenge in a nutshell.

By anon132647 — On Dec 07, 2010

So glad to know what I am now! I was born in 1961 and feel that I was very lucky to be able to sample some of the boomer memories, but always felt like several others have stated, that the train had already left the station by the time I was in my first year of college in 79'.

Musically, I started going to concerts in 76', so I got to see a lot of great acts that were touring at the time (as well as some older acts that were in their last throws of popularity) and was fortunate enough to be there when music and fashion changed from shoulder length hair and "Frampton Comes Alive" to buzz cuts and bands like The B52's, Black Flag and the Misfits.

I very much remember Vietnam, hippies, Watergate, Kent State and the Death of ML King, but never had to worry about any of that since I was just a kid, and really more interested in the Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, GI Joes, model cars, lincoln logs and Scooby Do. I felt damn fortunate when I'd be partying with friends who were older than me who had been to Vietnam, cause I couldn't associate with any of that stuff even though they weren't that much older than me.

I didn't grow up with computers, cell phones, cd players, digital cameras, gps, 24/7 news casts, etc., and we still had a black and white tv when I left home.

But I'm young enough to pick up on all of this without a big struggle like some boomers. Anyhow, Gen Jones ain't a bad place to be. It's like "Boomer Lite".

By anon123094 — On Oct 30, 2010

I am so glad to finally have a name for our generation. I concur with the ideas that we do not trust government or baby boomers. All the anarchy that was going on in the late sixties and early seventies was very unsettling to the developing mind, not to mention watching body bags on TV for a war that caused so much confusion. I was born in 1958.

By anon118371 — On Oct 14, 2010

I'm 1961. Always felt like a half breed too.

By anon92336 — On Jun 27, 2010

Totally agree with anon51830. I was born in 1961 and remember watching "30something" as a 20 something in the 80s.

By the time I became 30 something in the 90s, the show was Friends -- all about 20 somethings! I have always felt too young to be a Boomer and too old to be an Xer. When will they come up with a show about 50ish-ers for us now?

By anon72018 — On Mar 21, 2010

this is the generation of gay men in America who were first affected by (and some still are living with) the first wave of HIV infection. We were in our late teens and early twenties when the infections began to appear in New York and Los Angeles- and many of us spent the next 20 years burying friends and family. A generation of gay men nearly wiped out.

And not much is written about it anymore. Many of our best historians, playwrights, artists and musicians of the period are gone.

By anon65095 — On Feb 11, 2010

I was born in 1954 in Australia and it was always a case of "you should have been here yesterday." I liken it to being out in the surf just after a massive set has steamed through. The water is turbulent and you are struggling to keep your head above water. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

I'm outback now and waiting for the right wave. A lot of my friends are dead through trying to keep up. Caught up in drugs and affluence.

Now I ask myself, "If a big wave came along now, would I paddle?"

By anon62095 — On Jan 24, 2010

I am an Australian born in 1963. To me the baby boomers were my parents generation, and I certainly never went in for electronica and the all night raves (sure we stayed up all night, but we spent them listening to Frank Zappa or grooving at the "disco"). I have always bemoaned my lot, and often referred to my self as a member of the "lost generation". Seems I'm not lost after all - just "jonesing". Its nice to finally fit.

By anon56096 — On Dec 11, 2009

Now I know why I never felt like I was a member of the Baby Boomers. (I was born in 1961).

By anon53078 — On Nov 18, 2009

I'm a Jonesy... born in 1962.

Never associated myself as a boomer and always felt a little too old to be Gen X. Granted, my musical tastes fall more towards rockabilly and psychobilly/surf these days... I have a hard time associating myself with the current trend in music. Seems too manufactured.

Glad to see Gen Jones getting the respect it deserves and proud to be a part of it.

By anon51830 — On Nov 09, 2009

This generation should definitely include those born in 1966. I've always thought it was the "lost" generation. Never had a label. When we were in our 20's TV focused on "30 somethings" remember the show? When we got into our 30's the focus skipped us again and went to Generation X. I really think we're the ones holding society together these days. We still retain the work ethic of our parents but know how to relax and have some fun. I hope a generation like this comes around again.

By anon45901 — On Sep 21, 2009

Born in 1961, I have been told I am a Generation-Xer, but couldn't feel less connection with their ethos. It is a relief to finally feel included in a generation with which I actually identify. I had lots of affinity for the boomer generation, but as another poster said, the party was clearly over by the time I got there. The defining musical culture for my generation was Abba, Village People, Donna Summer, by the eighties I was into B-52s, and soon after, perhaps with the advent of Madonna, lost all interest in current music. Then I ventured off into classical, world folk, and opera. As I reach middle age, I am increasingly alienated by current pop culture. The smash-em-up, explosive graphics of movies makes me cover my eyes lest I get motion sickness and vomit. I prefer movies which delve deep into human emotion, history, and culture. While I do enjoy the internet and cell phones, I refuse to use texting or Facebook, both of which feel utterly irritating to me. I don't even mind being labeled a "dinosaur," because I have never felt as if I fit in anywhere, anytime, anyway. I've *always* been "jonesing."

By anon42620 — On Aug 22, 2009

I was born in 1964 and never felt I was truly a Boomer. I looked at a few websites on the Jones Generation and I think I fall into this demographic! Those of born in the 1960's do not remember the Kennedy's, Beatles, Vietman, Watergate, Manson, etc. Those where the stories of the nightly news which at that time we were not interested because we wanted to watch the Brady Bunch. I don't think I really became politcally aware until 1982 when I turned 18. I was not really aware of all the political news of the 1960s and 1970s.I can remember my mother, aunts/uncles, and grandparents talking politcs but I don't think us kids where interested.

By anon32663 — On May 25, 2009

I was born in 1959 and I have no feelings of being part of the Boomer Generation. It's very much like going to a party too late and all of the alcohol or drugs are running out and the place is trashed. We were "jonesing."

We had no choice but to start something new because we were "jonesing" for something and it couldn't be based on their experiences but on our own. Their issues were the draft, the war, the sexual revolution and "finding" themselves.

Our issues included economic insecurities with gas prices and a rising unemployment rate coupled with fear of Herpes and Aids just as we arrived into young adulthood. But we did fine.

Generation Jones people had to work harder while thinking out of the box and the result was computers, cell phones, digital media and the internet.

On a political note, we are still following the Boomers and cleaning up their mess.

By anon28101 — On Mar 11, 2009

Hi, I'm a Jones'er. It seems to me that sharing the spotlight is the same as trying to keep up with them, especially when that spotlight was never shared.

By anon21118 — On Nov 10, 2008

FYI, re: the genesis of the name "Generation Jones", my understanding is that it refers more to a generation that was "jonesing" (a term popularized as our generation was coming of age) to break free of the shadow of the older boomers (for we are an inextricable part of the Baby Boom generation, yet we, to quote Rodney Dangerfield, "get no respect", if you will, in terms of being seen as part of that--ironically our own--generation. The older Boomers had a HUGE influence on us younger ones, and--so the theory goes that influenced the "Generation Jones" name--we pined (a.k.a., jonesed) to share the spotlight with them. The name had nothing to do with, quote "keeping up with the Joneses".

Baby Boom Cohort 2 Member/Generation Jones Member, OUT!

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a America Explained contributor, Tricia...
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