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What Is Generation Alpha?

We’re just beginning to find out.

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You’ve heard a lot about boomers, Gen X, millennials, boomers and now Gen Z, but you if you’re a millennial parent — as I am — you probably spend most of your time with a group of people that Australian demographer Mark McCrindle calls Generation Alpha. We talked to McCrindle about what millennial parents need to know about these “Gen Alpha” kids of ours — their exact age range, what defines them, and how we can best support these so-called “digital natives” to be successful in a world with an exploding population and marked by the challenges of climate change.

What is Generation Alpha?

A social researcher, author, and demographer, McCrindle literally wrote the book on Generation Alpha, as well as the 2010 book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations. In McCrindle’s 2021 book, Generation Alpha, he describes Generation Alpha as the children of millennials — which he typically refers to as Generation Y — and as “digital natives.” “Within the next few years they will outnumber the Baby Boomers, and many of them will live to see the 22nd Century,” McCrindle predicts.

When does Generation Alpha start?

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The kids who make up Generation Alpha are defined as babies born between 2010 and 2024. “More than 2.5 million are born globally every week,” McCrindle writes. As you might imagine, a lot of what is ‘known’ so far about Generation Alpha is speculation, considering that many of the children who will make up this generation are not even born yet. But still, we have some sense of what this next generation will face on a global scale — from economic challenges to climate change — and McCrindle is laser-focused on the potential of this upcoming generation.

What millennial parents need to know about their Generation Alpha children

As a parent of two kids who qualify as Generation Alpha babies (born in 2017 and 2021), I wanted to hear from McCrindle himself what parents should know about our Gen Alpha babies. He first explained that he believes we have to unlearn everything we think we know about past generations to allow ourselves to think about Alpha in a new and fresh way. “One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to parent in the identical way they were parented,” McCrindle says. While there are some things about the work of parenting that are timeless — “changing nappies, for example” — we must be realistic about the different world and different century that our kids will be growing up in. “Parenting Generation Alpha warrants a review of what worked well in the past and is timeless, while also incorporating strategies that are appropriate for the changed times and this new generation,” McCrindle explains. “This could look like setting structures in place for screen time or deciding how to care for children when both parents are working — issues that parents in the past didn’t have to consider as much as parent’s do today.”

He agrees that it’s incredibly important to frame the challenges that our children may face realistically. But, McCrindle is also relentlessly hopeful, encouraging parents to embrace both hope and empathy. “The thrill of life is taking steps to address the issues, innovate and bring solutions. And Generation Alpha will do precisely that,” McCrindle insists. “They will see with fresh eyes, and bring different thinking and their generation’s unique perspective.” Parents of Generation Alpha can best support their children by encouraging them to be agents of change, he says, which is what we know their moment in history will require.

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What Generation Alpha might grow up to be

“It’s apparent to us that many people are scared for Generation Alpha’s future,” McCrindle says, of himself and his fellow social researchers at his eponymous firm. But he reiterates that he believes the outlook can be seen through a lens of hope. “Every generation has faced their struggles; past generations would have had wars, or famine – it just looks different for this generation.” Generation Alpha, he says are defined by being extremely:

  • Digital
  • Global
  • Mobile
  • Social
  • Visual

He believes that how they approach the challenges they face will depend on our supporting them as they mature into adulthood. They’ll need encouragement and empathy, he says, as well as plenty of hope and (of course) love. And, as every parent knows, nothing could matter more than that.


Mark McCrindle, demographer & futurist at McCrindle

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