Fact Sheet

Age range of Silent Generation (2021): 76–93

Silent Generation’s share of the U.S. population (2020): 7.6%

Birth years of Silent Generation: 1928–1945

Youngest members reached retirement age in: 2010

Share of Overall Power

Silent Generation holds 12.8% of Overall Power in the Generational Power Index

silent generation overall power

Silent Generation

The Silent Generation – the cohort that reached adulthood between 1946 and 1963 – grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression and World War II. This cohort was the smallest in the past 100 years, in part because of the volatility of the era.

Members of the Silent Generation fought in the Korean War and lived through McCarthyism in their early years. During this time period, the U.S. emerged as the de facto world super power and society was changing rapidly in response. Living standards were rising, consumerism took hold, and suburbs began expanding in earnest.

Today, members of this generation are in their golden years, with the youngest members reaching retirement age in 2010. Silent Generation currently makes up just over 7% of the U.S. population.

What’s in a name? There are competing theories as to where the name “Silent Generation” came from. This cohort grew up during a period of war and economic depression, so their personality could be seen as being silenced or muted by these events. Certainly, the birth rate did fall during that time period. The Silent Generation has also been characterized as “working within the system,” which would also explain a competing label: Traditionalists. Finally, the name could be a reference to the era of McCarthyism, in which people were less able to speak freely about their opinions and beliefs.