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The Pandemials – The new generation arising

Generations are one way to group age cohorts. More specific, a generation typically refers to a demographic group of people born over a 15-20 year span, such as the Millennial generation, currently the youngest adult generation. Generations are important clusters to understand human behavior considering the global society impacts happening in the same range of time. Consequently, many aspects related to sociology, business, economy, philosophy, psychology, medicine, international relations and more fields of knowledge can be discussed using the generational point of view. The differences in outlook between the various generations is given in the table below as an overall view and demonstrates the behavioral differences in a multi-generation past perspective:

Generation relevance and differences

Generation

Period 

Other names*

Behavioral Patterns*

Youngest/ Oldest age in 2021 ***

Share of adult pop. **

2020 pop. in billions *** 

Traditionalist

1945 & before

Veterans, silent, radio boomers, The forgotten Generation

Conformers, dedication, sacrifice, duty before pleasure, discipline, patience, loyalty, 

75+

11%

0.7

Baby Boomers

1946 to 1964

Moral Authority “Me” Generation 

Anti-government, equal opportunities and rights, personal gratification.

56/74

30%

0.8

Gen X

1965 to 1979 

The Doers, Post Boomers

Balance, Diversity, Entrepreneurial, fun, highly educated. 

57/40

27%

1.53

Millennials

1980 to 1999

Gen Y, Gen Next, Echo Boomers, Digital Natives, Net Generation

Self-confident, sociability, diversity, extreme fun, extreme techno savvy, instant gratification, self learning.

21/39

30%

2.3

Centennials

2000 onwards

iGen, Gen Z, Gen Zee

Vigilant outlook, tempered, expectations, lee self-absorbed, more self-assured.

1 to 3/20

2%

2.6

Source: Adapted from *Dutta and Jani (2016), **Pew Research (2015) and *** Ourworldindata.org (2021)

While World War II affected Baby Boomers behavior, the Gen X was affected by movements of freedom and new behaviors supported by, for example, birth control pills and society willing for peace. Millennials are considered the last generation that lived the world without Internet, or the ones being raised in the begging of the called informational era.  The Centennials are considered the ones who were born in a world flooded by Internet and babies that before even start talking they already have the skills to choose their favorite app to use in their baby-sitting tablets. 

However, the Centennials generation, considering individuals born on the 2000’s should have now its replacement in the 2020’s as it is already time for a new generation to raise and we are living a world transition that could lead to new societal characteristics. This Generation is not yet clearly defined, but we can see the impact of the Covid 19 as a starting point to develop a new generation named The Pandemials. But who will be they? And how can we categorize then in the future?

The Pandemials, decendents of Millennials and Centennials, are being impacted by new changing factors that are being speeded up by the Covid 19 pandemics. There are changes that are already happening and others still to come, and we are going to discuss them in different topics for better understanding:

1 – Health Consciousness and the Information Technology 

The main topic to explain Millennials and Centennials behavior concerns to the development of the informational era, were the access of information, powered by Internet, changed (and still changing) the world exponentially on top of the advancements of new technologies in many different fields of application. The Pandemials, influenced by the disruption of the Covid 19, will see a great disruption in the health technology sector starting now on early 2020’s were we can already see many devices being produced to create people’s awareness about their own health. Smart watches and bracelets are already in the market allowing people to have on time information about some of their health records like pulse and sleeping quality control. Further research and products aim to create new ways of health control. We can see already the launch of new devices promising to inform the user about their metabolic levels, sugar, blood pressure and other body activities that could promote a better health control for people even suggesting different life behavior or what they should eat in the next meal to boost their body performance. In the near future people will have better understanding and knowledge about many other different health metrics and live information about their health status, helping users to have a better health consciousness and live a healthier life.

2 – Home Office as default

The Pandemials are born in a different working environment, where the home office is the new type of working model. It will change the way children are raised, as the parents will have new challenges by having to manage the work and childcare at the same time in the same place. Since Gen X, when woman start taking place strongly in the job market, children were raised in different context far from parents: by grandmothers, nannies, schools and other institutions – but considering the new advancement of home office and home schooling it could change again the family members interaction.

Therefore, young adults will have different perspectives and different types of job choices that will include the selection of home office as basic default. The home office that has intrinsic characteristics of remote job, will create the further development of more co-working spaces worldwide to embrace the social environment in the work place mostly for young professionals and people with no family. These changes will also push the behavior of the digital nomads, or people that travel around the world combining leisure with work due to its flexibility. 

Urban Exodus

As a consequence of the home office and the flexibility of working and studying, people no longer will have to choose to live in a big city only because of a better job position or career goals. The Pandemials would have the choice to live where they really desire, either close to family in small towns or traveling the world in the digital nomad format. With that in mind, we will have what we call the urban exodus as people would move back to remote zones, rural places, small towns, remote coastal zones, and so on, and big cities population should decrease in same levels as the people’s life quality increases. The world population should spread in a more balanced way and the city hubs should be reduced. These changes might also decrease the life cost in big cities – as rent costs are related to demand – and increase the infrastructure in remote regions to support this new trend that is already happening in a slow pace. 

Genetic Engineering

The Pandemials are also living the gates opened to the start of changes in the health industry that will revolutionize the entire world, like Internet in the past decades. By the urgency to contain the Covid 19, advancements in medicine and biogenetics were pushed and vaccines consisting of rNA methods will change the way the medicine is done. This factor was speed up as the genetic changed has a very important and high ethical issue barrier that would take longer to break down if not the pandemics urgency happened. These type of vaccines opened an exception in the usage of genetic codification that will be powered in the next decade and changing the humanity. Much probably diseases as cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinson and other genetic dementias will have their cures using these type of methods or ramifications of it in the period of the Pandemial’s generation. Further development of the biogenetic field, like DNA codification for baby engineering and esthetical usage of DNA codification and even reverse ageing will also take place in the near future but much probably for the next generation and not in the Pandemials era yet. The informational era will be remarked by the genetics era. 

Final overview:

Other advancements in technology as the renewable source of energies, the self-driving vehicles and the space era will also start in the Pandemials era but will have further impact in the future generations. As we know, the generations are not something static. Early Millennials (today around 40 years old) are differently impacted by the society changes then late Millennials (today around 25 years old). The understanding of the generations is regarding the understanding of the social changes that will impact human behavior and new trends that are accepted by people accordingly to their cultural background, values and beliefs, making the analysis of the human behavior very complex but at the same interesting matter to study. 

Murilo Branco

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