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Quiz: How 'Millennial' are you?

Do you have multiple tattoos? Did you watch more than an hour of television in the last 24 hours? Do you text frequently?

You have to credit the very serious Pew Research Center when, along with issuing a massive report on the millennial generation this week, the Washington-based self-described "fact tank" also devised a funny quiz for people to see how closely aligned they are with the much-maligned millennial generation.

After you answer 14 questions in the "How Millennial Are You?" quiz, Pew spits out a numerical grade. The closer you get to 100, the more "millennial" you are. More than anything, the quiz seems like a way for the non-profit to perhaps poke fun at itself or, at least, the concept of generalizing about a generation, even if there are statistics and surveys backing up the research.

[Editor's Note: Reporter Ian Shapira here casts doubt on the serious purpose of this quiz in part because I, his much-older editor, scored a considerably higher tally on the quiz, qualifying therefore as a much younger person than Shapira, who is a mere pup chronologically, but an old fogey in real life.]

[Reporter's Note: This is so embarrassing that I am going to set up an appointment to get a tattoo, maybe a couple of tattoos, to boost my millennial-cred. And no, in case you're looking at my last name and wondering, Jews with tattoos are not violating any of their religion's edicts and can still be buried in Jewish cemeteries.]

Deciding who's a millennial is never easy, especially for young people themselves. I once wrote a story featuring young people in their 20s and 30s who were totally confused as to whether they were millennials or Generation X-ers. Pew's report says that anyone technically born after 1980 is a Millennial, but does not give a final birth year for the generation. Some experts include anyone born from the late 1970s all the way up to the early 2000s as a Millennial. Neil Howe, co-author of the seminal work "Millennials Rising," says the first millennials were born in 1982 and graduated in the high school class of 2000, and thus, came of age in the new millennium. (Howe's late writing partner William Strauss coined the generation's name.)

Personally, I am what Howe describes as a "cusper," because I was born in September 1978. But I took Pew's quiz and scored a 35, and was clearly pegged as an X-er. I think it's because I read a daily newspaper every day.

What grade did you get?

By Ian Shapira  | February 25, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
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That was funny. I'm 55 years old (clearly a Baby Boomer) but scored a 42. Maybe it's from having kids who are millenials - one born in 1982 and on ein 1985.

Posted by: honest_jane | February 25, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I scored 40 - Gen X. Which is true -- I am Gen X. I'm 38 and was born in 1971.

Posted by: MarylandJ | February 25, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I got a 46 (millenial) and I am a 62 year old boomer. I think it was my Facebook page, and leftwing politics that got this bizarre result.

Posted by: jhpurdy | February 25, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. I'm 38 and only scored a 12! I guess it's because I don't like phones in general and never text. Nor do I have a facebook profile. However, I'm always on my bberry but that wasn't a question. I think my 65 year old mom would score higher than I did. I guess I'm a Luddite at heart...

Posted by: LilyBell | February 25, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm 25 and scored a 9. Am I at least partially redeemed by the fact that I immediately shared my results with friends online?

Posted by: journalista55 | February 25, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to take this poll seriously when it completely leaves out a large generation which most experts now believe needs to be included: Generation Jones (between the Boomers and Generation X). Pew is one of the pollsters who is still behind the curve and doesn't break out GenJones seperately, while more up-to-date pollsters now regularly include GenJones.

Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten lots of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (New York Times, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press' annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009. Here's a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:

It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. And most analysts now see generations as getting shorter (usually 10-15 years now), partly because of the acceleration of culture. Many experts now believe it breaks down more or less this way:

DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
Generation Jones: 1954-1965
Generation X: 1966-1978
Generation Y/Millennials: 1979-1993

Posted by: CloudsUpHigh | February 26, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

While birth dates define the chronologic age, it doesn't define attitude. In my book (Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization)I describe myself as a Gen Y trapped in a Baby Boomer body. I gained some confirmation with the quiz, scoring 67. Tongue-in-cheek, I call my mother, 86 years, a geeky-geezer who is rather adept at using the Internet and carries a mobile phone. At the same time, I know quite a few young people who qualify as "refuseniks," fighting technology tooth and nail. In other words - age is an attitude, not a stereotype.

Posted by: GrayHairedGenY | February 26, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

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