Let's talk about this chart from the White House's report, "15 Economic Facts About Millennials."
There are a number of things worth noting here, before this thing starts moving around the Internet as a point of evidence in the longstanding fight over who is in Generation X and who is a Millennial and what was Generation Y about, anyway?
1. These are not actual Census Bureau designations. The "Source: Census Bureau" at the bottom of the chart almost certainly refers to the data, not the designations.
A few months ago, I explored for another publication how and where the generations overlapped. I spoke with a representative of the Census Bureau who told me that the agency doesn't track any generation as a defined group except for the Baby Boomers. Which makes sense, since that cohort was exceptional. (In a statistical way, if not in a Tom Brokaw way.)
2. The years indicated don't mesh with other researched delineations. Generations, as anyone with a family knows, get blurry. You know that you're in one generation and your parents are in another, but what about your cousin or aunt who is 10-15 years older than you? Is he or she in your generation, or your parents'? The Baby Boom was distinctive because there were surges in population that clearly define it. The split between Generation X and Millennials is far more cultural, meaning that the line is blurrier. The two overlap.
For example, a Harvard researcher marked Gen X as 1965 to 1984. Another researcher puts Millennials at 1982 to 2004. Which is it? Well, both and neither. It's blurry. And if you were born in 1983? Tough. Deal with it.
— Jake Grovum (@jgrovum) October 9, 2014
3. "Homeland Generation" is an emerging, but not final, name. That newest, youngest generation, from 2004 (or whenever!) on doesn't have a go-to name. The casual observer probably considers them Millennials, and people born this year might end up lumped into that category eventually. But defining them as the Homeland Generation isn't a new innovation by the White House.
A May 2012 USA Today story explains one source for the name: The research team that demarcated 2004 as the end date of Millennialism also held a contest to name the next generation — "and folks voted overwhelmingly for the 'Homeland Generation.' " But we are very early in the generation. Gen X didn't get named Gen X until Douglas Coupland wrote about it in 1991 — at least 16 years after it began. So this can and likely will change.
(Related: Why not take a moment to learn how "homeland" entered the American lexicon?)
Who-belongs-to-what-generation is to age-diverse workplaces what hard-g-or-soft-g-gif is to the Internet. It's an eternal, entertaining, annoying debate.
The White House gets to lay down a marker on a lot of things. What generation 2-year-olds (or 32-year-olds) belong to is not one of them.