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17th Jan 2024

What is a ‘Zillennial’? The micro-generation between Millennial and Gen Z

Jody Coffey


Who is a Zillennial?

If you find yourself relating to the supposed traits of both Millennials and Gen Z’ers, it could be because you’re a ‘Zillennial’.

Millennials include anyone born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Z refers to anyone born from 1997 through 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.

However, the term ‘Zillennial’ – a linguistic mash-up of the two – refers to a cohort of people born on the cusp of both generations, which many have dubbed as the ‘middle child’ of demographics.

This micro-generation is believed to refer to anyone born between 1992 and 2002.

@mrbrotein Where my Zillennials? #zillennial #zillennialtiktok #millennial #genz #fyp ♬ Luna, amore e no – Piero Piccioni

Zillennials are a generation that has experienced and navigated the Digital Revolution of the 2000s and 2010s while in their adolescence.

Despite only being in their early 20s to early 30s, Zillennials have witnessed and experienced many life-altering situations in their short lives, making them somewhat of a resilient cohort.

“They were babies and children when 9/11 struck and don’t know life before airport security screenings, rampant domestic terrorism and other frightening threats,” Deborah Carr, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Innovation in Social Science at Boston University, told CNN.

“They attended college during the pandemic, and missed out on important social markers.”

The term has been trending across TikTok as users find themselves relating to this generation.

The hashtag #zillennials has garnered 271.4 million searches on the app, with users defining the ways in which a Zillennial can be identified.

One user, who just learned of the generational status, explained how social media habits can expose these young adults as Zillennials.

“These are the people who heard about MySpace but never used it, has a Facebook page but still stuck to Instagram, and was a little late to the TikTok craze,” @zhangsta said in a viral clip.

She went on to say that the age of a person during certain historical events may also help identify a Zillennial.

“They were also the kids who were too young to remember 9/11 when it happened.

“We remember the good old days playing outside before getting introduced to the Game Boy or the DS and eventually the internet and the iPhone.”

@zhangsta Zillennials Unite?!🙋🏻‍♀️ #zillennialtiktok #zillennial #til #todayilearned #genz ♬ original sound – zhangsta

Elsewhere across the app, Zillennials are being characterised as oversharing people pleasers and hailed as the generation that made YouTube and its stars a success.

People in this demographic are also often cited as ‘Nickelodeon kids’.

@thecorporatemama Reply to @stars.bytara accurate?! #corporate#corporatetiktok#wfh#9to5life#zillennial#sickday#genz#millennials#permylastemail ♬ zillennial sick days – the corporate mama

The Mary Sue writes that this age cohort will have borne witness to the rise of meme culture, loves a good Buzzfeed quiz, and, sadly, cannot afford to buy a house.

“In other words, Zillennials bridge the gap between those holding out what little remaining hope there is for mankind (Millennials) and the nihilistic new kids with minds of their own and a dangerous prowess in the digital age,” the outlet explains.

According to one user, Zillennial girls, apparently, are also easily identifiable by their choice of jeans, opting to wear straight leg – not too flared and not too skinny.

This generation also has a particular posting style for Instagram, according to Zoe @zozoakz.

@zozoakz I can just tell your a zillennial by looking at ypu #fyp #zillennial #millennial #genz #university ♬ Elevator Music – Bohoman