Which U.S. Generation Wields The Most Economic Power?

In our inaugural Generational Power Index (GPI) 2021, we’ve ranked generations on how much power and influence they hold in American society.

And when it comes to money and economic power, our research has concluded that Baby Boomers, those between the ages of 57-75, have more influence than Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z combined.

Generation Economic Power Share
Baby Boomers 43.4%
Gen X 26.1%
Silent 17.6%
Millennials 9.7%
Gen Z 3.3%

These findings may seem intuitive, but what exactly contributes to economic power? To find out, let’s take a closer look at the GPI’s underlying variables.

The Building Blocks of Economic Power

Our starting point was to define the age ranges of each generation:

Generation Age range (years) Birth year range
The Silent Generation 76 and over 1928-1945
Baby Boomers 57-75 1946-1964
Gen X 41-56 1965-1980
Millennials 25-40 1981-1996
Gen Z 9-24 1997-2012
Gen Alpha 8 and below 2013-present

Using these ranges as a framework, we then calculated our four underlying variables of economic power. Here’s what the distribution within each one looked like:

economic power category breakdown

The earnings variable represents the median weekly earnings of full-time workers in the U.S., and was the most evenly distributed of the four variables. Gen Z had the lowest median weekly earnings ($614), while Gen X had the highest ($1,103).

Boomers established a clear lead in the second variable, net worth, which represents each generation’s share of overall U.S. wealth. As it turns out, Boomers hold 53% of all wealth in the country—more than all other generations combined.

The third variable captures each generation’s share of billionaire wealth, and was dominated by Boomers and the Silent Gen. We calculated this variable by starting with the top 1,000 billionaires globally, then filtering for Americans only.

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Disclosure: None.

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