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SLU Professor Argues Generational Labels Like ‘Boomer’ And ‘Millennial’ Are Misguided

St. Louis on the Air

While “the cyclical nature of generational denigration is embedded in our history,” generational labels like “baby boomer” and “millennial” are artificial and wrong, says St. Louis University associate professor Cort Rudolph.

Rudolph recently wrote about the topic in his campus editorial “OK Boomer Not OK, Nor Backed by Research.” Mostly, he is concerned that routinely categorizing people of different ages by generation leads to ageism.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Rudolph about recent use of the phrase “OK Boomer” and what the research tells us about whether there are major differences among the silent generation, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and the most recent category, Generation Z. 

Paul Taylor, the author of “The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown” and former vice president of the Pew Research Center, joined the conversation.

Listen to the discussion:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.