Like all the generations before it–the Baby Boomers, Gen X–there’s a mass cultural obsession with Millennials, and there has been for nearly ten years now. A generation that has come of age during a time of rapid technological advances, economic turmoil, and at least three different incarnations of Miley Cyrus is are experiencing young adulthood, and the world is having a massive freak out. One day we’re being villainized as the most vapid generation in human history, the next our oh-so-entitled butts are to blame for President Trump’s election, and if all that wasn’t enough, we’ve notably been bashed for prioritizing avocado toast over buying a house (let’s not even touch that absurdity with a ten foot pole). But we have a lot going for us! We’re invested in justice, we’re probably going to be partially responsible for legalizing pot, and we even have a pink named after us! I’m very proud to be a Millennial, but I’ve noticed other people who are just as proud as I am…but they aren’t actually Millennials.
Unfortunately, there’s a perfectly good reason for this confusion: Millennial has become a catchall term for young people. Whenever someone is ranting or raving about THE YOUTHS they mention Millennials. But in reality, while Millennials are young, most teens today aren’t Millennials. They’re actually part of a different generation entirely: Generation Z. But are you a Millennial or part of Gen Z? Delay that identity crisis for a second and check out these nine ways to find out.
You Were Born After 1995There's a lot of debate over when the Millennial generation ends and Generation Z begins. Some think Gen Z starts as early as 1993, while others believe Gen Zers were born after the year 2000! But most seem to decide on one year: 1995. If you were born after 1995, most researchers consider you a member of Gen Z. Of course, there's people on the post-1995 cusp who identify more with Millennials, and there are some on the pre-1995 cusp who identify more with Gen Z. It all depends on you and your upbringing. Girl Meets World
You Don't Remember 9/11This is really grim, but it is also one of the most accurate indicators of a true generation gap between Millennials and Gen Z. Some believe that the true divide between the generations all comes down to whether or not you remember the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As someone who was ten, going on eleven-years-old at the time, I distinctly remember a pre and post 9/11 world. Gen Zers either don't remember 9/11 or they were born after it occurred. iStock
You Don't Remember The '90sListen, I was born in the beginning of 1990, and even I barely remember anything prior to 1997! It's safe to say that if you were born in the '90s and don't remember a single, solitary bit of it, or you weren't born in the '90s at all and are, in fact, a 2000s baby...you aren't a Millennial. Let your Gen Z flag fly proudly. Clueless
You've Grown Up With Computers, Wi-Fi, Smartphones, And TabletsWhile both Millennials and Gen Zers are very tech savvy, they have different relationships with tech when it comes to their upbringing. I was born at the tail end of 1990, so I'm a younger Millennial. And still, my early memories were of massive computers, AOL, and the haunting sound of dial-up. I don't think I used WIFI regularly in my own home until my last couple of years of high school! Sure, Gen Z also witnessed rapidly changing technology, but there was a smaller learning curve and the tech they grew up with was a lot more refined. Victorious
You Didn't Come Of Age In The '00s, But You're Coming Of Age In The '10sFor the record, there's some debate about the birth year span for Millennials, but most Millennials can safely say that they came of age or went through some of their most formative years during the 2000s. Gen Z is experiencing their teen years right now, and older members of Gen Z are just now starting to enter adulthood. Thirteen
Your First Phone Was A SmartphoneIf your first phone was a smartphone, there's a greater chance that you belonged to Gen Z than the Millennial generation. My first phone was a chunky monstrosity with a gray and black screen, while my trusty phone in high school was a dinky flip phone...WITH A CAMERA, OMG. I didn't have a smartphone until college! Meanwhile, plenty of people who are members of Gen Z were getting their first cell phones at a younger age, and those phones were likely iPhones and Android phones. The Duff
Gen Zers Are Less Frugal Than MillennialsPerhaps it's because many Millennials came of age during the recession, when economic outcomes were looking, er, grim AF. That would explain why Millennials are a little more conscious about their coin than Gen Zers allegedly are. Also interesting about Gen Z: They prefer shopping IRL more than Millennials, who are big on online shopping these days. Perhaps this is because a lot of Gen Zers don't have their own credit cards yet, however. Time will tell! Kylie Jenner @ Instagram
MTV Playing Music Videos Is Like An Urban Legend To YouMTV might seem like a random generational marker, but hear me out! When it aired in the early '80s, MTV revolutionized the way an entire generation (Gen X, to be specific) received pop culture, especially with its heavy rotation of music videos. Millennials also relied on MTV for exposure to new music, but they also remember it as a channel featuring some of the most beloved and reviled reality TV shows of all time. Hey, our access to music changed, and so did MTV. So you're definitely part of Gen Z if MTV has mostly been a channel dedicated to reality TV shows in your lifetime; from over the top romps of Jersey Shore, to video round up shows like Ridiculousness. Hell, you might have only started watching MTV to catch Teen Wolf. But watching hours of music videos? Yeah, not your reality. Like I said, most Millennials remember a time when MTV had plenty of reality shows, but they came second to music oriented programming...and hours of TRL. If you don't remember TRL...well...that says it all. Don't take this as condescending. Trust, there are Gen Xers who swear that even Millennials missed out on MTV's iconic glory days. I think we'll all survive.Britney Spears Vevo
Gen Z Is More Conservative Than The Millennial GenerationI'm skeptical of this research, but there have been a couple of studies that indicate that Gen Z might be more conservative than Millennials. The authors behind the book Gen Z Goes To College deduced that 84 percent of Gen Z identified as fiscally conservative, which might be due to their tendency to be more entrepreneurially inclined than previous generations. However, it's a little hard to believe that Gen Z--identified as the most queer generation--is more conservative than Millennials. Plenty of my personal anecdotal evidence disputes this too, but I guess we'll have to wait and see! Pinterest
So, which generation are you part of? Are you a Millennial? Or are you a member of Gen Z? Tell us in the comments!