What is the 'The Greatest Generation'

The Greatest Generation is a term used to describe those who grew up during the Great Depression and fought World War II, or whose labor helped win it. The Greatest Generation was coined by onetime NBC Nightly News anchor and author Tom Brokaw in his book by the same name. The Greatest Generation profiled people who came of age during World War II and was inspired by Brokaw's attendance at the 40th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion of mainland Europe. Brokaw's profiles focused on the soldiers who fought the war, as well as the workers whose labor provided the essential materiel and services in support of them. The Greatest Generation is also known as the "G.I. Generation" or the "WWII Generation."

Breaking Down 'The Greatest Generation'

There are no precise dates that define when the Greatest Generation was born, though many give a range of the early 1900s to the mid-1920s. The common theme of the Greatest Generation is that its members lived through and experienced the hardships of the Great Depression and later either fought in World War II or worked in the industries that contributed to winning the war. In Australia, the Greatest Generation is known as the "Federation Generation."

The Greatest Generation: How Many Remain?

The youngest members of the Greatest Generation, if using 1925 as the last year they were born, would be well into their 90s as of 2018. As for veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as of 2016 there were only about 620,000 left out of the 16 million who served in World War II. About 372 Greatest Generation veterans are lost every day to old age. According to research by the Washington Post, the final member of the Greatest Generation should die around 2046 given advances in health care and improvements in life expectancy.

The Greatest Generation and Other Demographies

Generally speaking, the Greatest Generation are the parents of the "Baby Boomers" and are the children of the "Lost Generation" (those who grew up during or came of age during World War I). They preceded what is known as the "Silent Generation," a cohort born between the mid-1920s to the early-to-mid 1940s. The grandchildren of the Greatest Generation are members of Generation X, Generation Y and the Millennials. Members of the Greatest Generation currently fall into the "retirees" demographic and are currently collecting Social Security benefits. The differences between generations have been extensively studied and socio-economic models have been created to help plan for future government expenditures and programs to plan for changes in current demographics.

RELATED TERMS
  1. War Economy

    War economy is the organization of a country's production capacity ...
  2. Generation X (Gen X)

    Generation X is the generation of Americans born between the ...
  3. Price War

    Price war refers to a circumstance where rival companies continuously ...
  4. War Bond

    A war bond is a debt security issued by a government for the ...
  5. Great Depression

    The Great Depression was a devastating and prolonged economic ...
  6. Sandwich Generation

    The sandwich generation refers to middle-aged individuals who ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Managing Varied Generations In The Workplace

    With today's workforce made up of many different generations, here are some ways employers can help different generations work together more smoothly.
  2. Personal Finance

    The Generational Debt Gap

    Are future generations in trouble when it comes to how much debt they have? We compare debt between other age groups to find out.
  3. Tech

    Top Tips on Catering to Millennial Clients

    The economic impact of Millennials is rapidly growing. Here's how to reach them.
  4. Retirement

    Are Social Security Benefits a Form of Socialism?

    Socialism is a loaded word in the U.S., but Social Security, one of the nation's most popular benefit programs, is wholly government-run.
  5. Retirement

    Why Gen X Should Prepare for Forced Retirement

    Generation X is often overlooked, and its members are often least ready for retirement.
  6. Managing Wealth

    This is the Top Fear of Gen X, Millennial Savers

    Younger folks are more stressed than older generations about having enough money for retirement.
  7. Small Business

    Can Your Family Business Keep Up With Growth?

    Family business owners need to factor in the growth rate of future generations and plan ahead.
  8. Tech

    What Advisors Need to Know About Gen X and Gen Y

    To remain relevant, financial advisors must understand the viewpoints of the next generations. Recent research shows that not all of them do.
  9. Insights

    The Pros And Cons Of Price Wars

    Cheaper prices for the customer may seem great, but aggressive price cutting has a downside.
  10. Retirement

    Financial Challenges of Club Sandwich Generation

    The Club Sandwich Generation faces unique financial burdens.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What was the Marshall Plan?

    The Marshall Plan was a U.S.-sponsored program implemented following the second world war to aid European countries that ... Read Answer >>
  2. Is there a world currency? If so, what is it?

    There is no such thing as a world currency. However, since World War II, the dominant or reserve currency of the world has ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Intrinsic Value

    Intrinsic value is the perceived or calculated value of a company, including tangible and intangible factors, and may differ ...
  2. Current Assets

    Current assets is a balance sheet account that represents the value of all assets that can reasonably expected to be converted ...
  3. Volatility

    Volatility measures how much the price of a security, derivative, or index fluctuates.
  4. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  5. Cost of Debt

    Cost of debt is the effective rate that a company pays on its current debt as part of its capital structure.
  6. Depreciation

    Depreciation is an accounting method of allocating the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life and is used to account ...
Trading Center