The Rise and Fall of generations

My previous post showing the definitions of different generations was in service of creating the chart below. This chart illustrates the “rise and fall” of generations across their lifecycle. As a new generation is born, it’s share of the population increases. Once a generations births have ended, there is a very long tail as people in that generation slowly die and new generations are born.

The data from the chart below comes from the U.S. Census bureau. I was able to use yearly population estimates from 1980 onward, but prior to 1980 the data comes from decennial Census PUMs data (hence why, for example, Gen X looks it starts in 1970–instead of 1965–and why the baby boomers have such an odd slope between 1960 and 1970). The Census Bureau does not publish birth year, so I estimated birth year (and thus generation) from age and year of estimate. There will thus ‘slop’ in my estimates but they should be close for my purpose here.

Chart showing the generational distribution of the U.S. population from 1940 - 2021

Defining the generations

Generations is a very… imprecise… sociological concept. People just sorta look at a rough cohort of ages and say “yeah, you all are a generation.” Start and end points (as well as labels) just sorta coalesce out of the ether.

Nevertheless, they have their use and certainly are cemented in the popular imagination. I’ve been doing some reading on generations and really appreciated this diagram and article by Pew Research. But I wish it went a little earlier and a little later. So I made my owner version, *heavily* influenced by the Pew version.

A diagram showing generation birth year starting with the Lost Generation (born 1883 - 1900) and ending with Generation Alpha (Born 2013-2030).

What I learned by listening to every Beatles album (in order)

Inspired by Get Back I recently undertook to listen to every Beatles album in order. Herein lies what I learned.

  • It’s harder than you’d think to say what is a Beatles album. Wikipedia list 21 studio albums, five live albums, and 54 compilation albums. That’s a lot and a lot more than the 12 I listened to.
  • Singles used to be a real thing. There are a lot of Beatles hits that aren’t on any of the canonical albums.
  • The Beatles were pretty great.

And here’s how I rank the Beatles albums, worst to best:

12) Yellow Submarine

11) Help

10) Magical Mystery Tour

9) Beatles For Sale

8) With the Beatles

7) A Hard Day’s Night

6) Let it be

5) Abbey Road

4) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band

3) The Beatles (The White Album)

2) Revolver

1) Rubber Soul