Generation Jones is a term coined by the author Jonathan Pontell to describe those born from approximately 1954 to 1965. This group is essentially the latter half of the ‘Baby Boomers’ to the first years of Generation X. The name has several connotations, including a large anonymous generation, a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ competitiveness, and the slang word ‘jones’ or ‘jonesing,’ meaning a yearning or craving.
It is said that Jonesers were given huge expectations as children in the 1960s, and then confronted with a different reality as they came of age during a long period of mass unemployment. When de-industrialization arrived full force in the mid to late 1970s and 1980s, they were left with a certain unrequited ‘jonesing’ quality for the more prosperous days in the past.
The generation is noted for coming of age after a huge swath of older brothers and sisters. Thus, many Generation Jones members complain that there was a paucity of resources and privileges available to them that were seemingly abundant to fellow Baby Boomers born earlier. This is cited as leading to ‘jonesing’ for the level of freedom and affluence granted to older boomers but denied to their generation.
In the business world, Generation Jones has become a part of the strategic planning of many companies and industries, particularly in the context of targeting Jonesers through marketing efforts. Politically, Generation Jones has emerged as a crucial voting segment in Western elections. In the U.S. 2006 congressional and 2004 presidential elections, and the 2005 U.K. elections, Generation Jones’s electoral role was widely described as pivotal by the media and political pollsters.
In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, Generation Jones was again seen as a key electoral segment, and because of the high degree to which its members were swing voters or otherwise highly influential. The election to the presidency of Barack Obama, born in 1961, plus Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, born 1964, focused more attention on Generation Jones. Key characteristics assigned to members are less optimism, distrust of government, and general cynicism.