Generational happiness

Leah Carter in this image finds happiness in completing her goals of playing D1 college. Her parents find happiness in seeing their daughter succeed. (Photo used with permission of Leah Carter)

Happiness is something that everyone looks for, but what causes this happiness varies throughout each generation. 

Think about what causes you happiness. Does your happiness come from your accomplishments, tangible items, or work? 

Each generation has its values, experiences, and milestones that contribute to how they find happiness.

Let’s take a look at each generation’s view of happiness. Generations include Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, Baby boomers grew up after World War 2.  The Baby Boomers find happiness, instability, financial success, and any accomplishment. 

These Boomers find comfort in following traditional rules like owning a home, having a good career, and having a family.

Further happiness for this generation is usually found in achieving their personal goals and watching their children succeed.

Generation X

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980, this generation is often known for they’re independence. This generation grew up during a time of economic ruin and a time of great social change. 

Many Gen Xers value more of  a work-life balance compared to the Baby Boomers. They prefer jobs that offer more flexibility which would allow more time for hobbies and their family.

They tend to prioritize personal growth and learning, finding happiness in exploring new hobbies or skills. 


The generation of millennials is the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. This generation was born between  1981 and 1996, the oldest of the bunch hit 40 this year. 

They have become the largest voting generation in the US as of 2016 and as of 2018 the most educated in the workforce.

For millennials, the pressure to succeed is something they worry about immensely. They typically find happiness in work that makes a positive impact.


Lastly, generation-z members were born between 1997 and 2012. Age ranges from 12 to 27 are a part of this group. 

This generation is the children of millennials so, the things that were pressured on them throughout childhood are not prioritized leading them into adulthood.  

This generation will try to avoid things that will make them unhappy. Which is extremely hard to do. This generation is extremely open about their feelings and mental health.

They value diversity and inclusion while seeking happiness. Just like the millennials they are willing to invest time or money in things that will specifically benefit them. Leading away from that family orientation seen in the prior generations.

Think about what generation you fit into and if your ideals of happiness match the stereotypes for your generation. 


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