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The Oregon Trail Generation (also referred to as Xennials and Generation Catalano) is a term referring to those born during the Generation X/Millennials cusp years, typically late 1970s to early 1980s. It is named after the video game The Oregon Trail, the Apple II version of which was played by many GenX/Millennial cuspers in their school computer labs.[1]


The term Oregon Trail Generation was used by Anna Garvey in her 2015 article "The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before And After Mainstream Tech", published in Social Media Week.[2] Other terms, such as Generation Catalano,[3] Xennials,[4] and The Lucky Ones[5] were already coined and are referenced in her article. The name is a reference to the Oregon Trail game that individuals born in the late 1970s or early 1980s often played as children in school computer labs.[2]

Slate defines Generation Catalano as being born from 1977 to 1981, essentially Jimmy Carter's presidency. The name is a reference to the character Jordan Catalano from the 1990s teen drama, My So-Called Life.[3]

GOOD magazine describes Xennials as "a micro-generation that serves as a bridge between the disaffection of Gen X and the blithe optimism of Millennials" using the term to describe those born between 1977 to 1983.[6]. The term Xennials received additional attention in June 2017 following an Instagram post[7] describing the term which went viral on facebook.[8] Dan Woodman, an Australian sociologist was credited by the Australian media with inventing the term, but Woodman says he did not coin the term.[6] The term Xennial is reported to be first created and used in a Sept 2014 article in Good magazine[9] written by Sarah Stankorb and Jed Oelbaum.[10]

Merriam-Webster includes Xennial in their Words We're Watching section, defining the term as "a word that refers to people who were born on the cusp between Generation X and the millennials. Some consider 'xennials' to be those born between 1977 and 1983."[11]

Characteristics and traitsEdit

Cassie McClure, writing for Las Cruces Sun-News, describes those in the Oregon Trail Generation as "remembering a time before the digital age, but barely."[12] Anna Garvey describes these individuals as having "both a healthy portion of Gen X grunge cynicism, and a dash of the unbridled optimism of Millennials," and discusses their relationship with both analog and digital technology.[2] describes individuals born in the late 1970s and early 1980s as sharing traits with both Generation X and Millennials.[13]

Anna Garvey describes U.S members of this group as having had an "AOL adolescence" and as being from "the last gasp of a time before sexting, Facebook shaming, and constant communication".[2]

The Dickinson Press describes those born in the early 1980s as having early adulthoods which were impacted by the events of the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War.[14]

Many who identify with Oregon Trail Generation, Xennials or Generation Catalano do so because they don't feel they fit within the typical definitions of Generation X or Millennials.[3][15][16]


  1. ^ Wagner, Tony (8 May 2017). "What did Oregon Trail teach us?". Marketplace. Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Garvey, Anna (21 April 2015). "The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before And After Mainstream Tech". Social Media Week. Crowdcentric Media, LLC. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Shafrir, Doree (24 October 2011). "Generation Catalano". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Stankorb, Sarah; Oelbaum, Jed (25 September 2014). "Reasonable People Disagree about the Post-Gen X, Pre-Millennial Generation". Good Magazine. GOOD Worldwide Inc. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Anna, Garvey (25 May 2016). "The Biggest Difference Between Millennials and My Generation". Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Are you a xennial? Take the quiz". The Guardian. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  7. ^ Davies, P.H. (23 May 2017). "What is a Xennial?". Instagram. Instagram. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  8. ^ Vitto, Laura (30 June 2017). "Hey 30-somethings, you're a Xennial". Mashable. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Reasonable People Disagree about the Post-Gen X, Pre-Millennial Generation". GOOD Magazine. 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  10. ^ "I Made Up Xennial 3 Years Ago, So Why Is a Professor in Australia Getting All the Credit?". Vogue. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  11. ^ "Words We're Watching: 'Xennial'". Retrieved 2017-12-02. 
  12. ^ McClure, Cassie (20 May 2016). "My So-Called Millennial Life: Old West pioneers of digital age". Las Cruces Sun-News. The USA Today Network. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Fogarty, Lisa (7 January 2016). "13 Signs you're stuck between Gen X & millennials". SheKnows. SheKnows Media. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  14. ^ Monke, Dustin (31 May 2015). "Monke: A generation stuck in transition". The Dickinson Press. The Dickinson Press and Forum Communications Company. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  15. ^ LaFrance, Adrienne (3 February 2016). "How Generations Get Their Names". The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Kendzior, Sarah (30 June 2016). "The myth of millennial entitlement was created to hide their parents' mistakes". Quartz. Atlantic Media Company. Retrieved 7 July 2016.