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The excellent Pew Research Center report, “Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change,” contains this nugget of insight regarding military service across the generations.

  • In 1964, when Silents were ages 19-36 yrs old, 24% had already served in military.
  • In 1978, when Boomers were ages 14-32 yrs old, 13% were veterans.
  • In 1995, Gen X were ages 15-30 yrs old, 6% had served.
  • Millennials are currently 18-29 yrs old.  Per 2010 Pew research, only 2% are veterans.

(You also can look at this data in Pew’s excellent interactive chart, comparing generations now and when they were the same ages.)

No wonder the Silent Generation feels that their wartime experiences/history are what make their generation unique from Baby Boomers, Gen X and the Millennials.

Learn about marketing to mature veterans as a senior “niche” by reading our 2009 post on the subject.  And add your comments below on what this shift means – if anything – to generational marketers.


UPDATED 5/20/15: As of 2014, Pew’s data shows that 3% of American Millennials are now veterans. Here’s a more recent chart:

Chart - Veteran Status by Generation; Boomers, Millennials - Pew Research

About The Author

Erin Read

Erin Read spearheads integrated and digital marketing programs for organizations targeting mature consumers. She writes, researches and speaks about marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Erin has addressed local, regional, international conferences on generational marketing. She is the co-author of three national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish; Social, Silver Surfers 2010 & 2013) and the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters.