Meet Generation Alpha
Some are just learning to talk. Many haven’t even been born yet. Generation Alpha – the successor to Gen Z – was named by Australian social researcher Mark McCrindle for the generation being born between 2010 and 2024.
An estimated 2.5 million Generation Alpha babies are being born each week, mostly to Millennial parents. Gen Alpha will number more than 2 billion by 2025 when they’ve all been born, becoming the largest generation in history.
Early research suggests that Generation Alpha will further advance trends seen in Millennials and Gen Z. It will be the most educated generation in history, McCrindle said in a New York Times interview, the most diverse, and the most technology-immersed generation ever. Described as “upagers”, their adolescence will begin earlier and it will extend later. Careers, marriage, children, and home ownership will begin later in life than previous generations as Gen Alpha pursues education longer.
Yet there are expectations that they may differ from previous generations in significant ways:
The earliest of Generation Alpha were born the same year, 2010, as the first Instagram post appeared and the original iPad released. They’ve been connected to their worlds through technology since they were born. McCrindle describes an “unintentional global experiment” with Gen Alpha being given tech devices as pacifiers, entertainment, and educational aides from the youngest age.
In “Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on the Emerging Generations”, McCrindle and coauthor Fell highlight some of the particular impacts of the pandemic on Generation Alpha. From online education and increased family time to new approaches to social interactions and friendships, the authors conclude that Gen Alpha will benefit from “witnessing different elements of resilience and responding to challenging times in positive ways.”
A study conducted for Hotwire reveals that the opinions of Gen Alpha about social issues appear to be more strongly formed earlier in life than in previous generations. Top issues include making sure everyone has enough food to eat, keeping children safe at school, taking care of the environment, and that boys and girls are treated fairly, among others.
It’s too early in Generation Alpha’s development for any certainties, but as it comes of age the combination of greater technology immersion with COVID distancing likely means that it will grow up experiencing significantly more life within online communities than even Gen Z. Its strong concern early in life for the well-being of others suggests that it will exert unusual influence on educational and legislative institutions and on businesses and industries in this decade. How those behaviors and opinions evolve over the lifetime of Gen Alpha will be interesting to observe.
If society’s fixation on Millennials and Gen Z is any indication, we are likely to study Generation Alpha more closely than any other – that is, until Generation Beta arrives…