Intergenerational Differences and Education Needs: The Baby Boomers, X, and Y Generations

Intergenerational Differences and Education Needs: The Baby Boomers, X, and Y Generations

Mine Gözübüyük Tamer (Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1847-2.ch001


This study aims to reveal the intergenerational differences and the educational needs of generations. According to the light of the specific indicators and data obtained from field studies in different generations (Baby Boom, X, and Y) in Turkey, the source of intergenerational differences was questioned; the educational needs and opportunities of the generations and their educational backgrounds were evaluated. Interview technique was used as a data collection tool in the research to be conducted depending on the qualitative research model. In the field dimension of the study, 16 participants that consist of eight male and eight females within a given family were included. The responses were subjected to descriptive analysis. Bowles and Gintis' views on education will be included. The results are summarized in accordance with the response of participants to questions in the fieldwork.
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Aging of the population is one of the most important demographic realities of the 21st century. Today, the elderly population is increasing in many developed countries, especially in Europe. Elderly population growth is confirmed by statistical data. In fact, there were 200 million people over the age of 60 in the world in 1950; this population increased to 600 million in 2000; today it has increased to 901 million. In 2050, the population of this age group is expected to reach 2 billion (Kalınkara, 2016). In most European countries with the oldest population in the world, the proportion of the elderly population in the total population is estimated to be 25% by 2030 (Wisensal, 2005). Although the elderly population ratio in Turkey is low compared to European countries, the population projections in Turkey also points out that population of Turkey is the aging. The graph below shows the percentage distribution of age groups in the total population according to the general census results from 1935 to 2020 (according to population projections).

Figure 1.

Ratio of age groups in the general population, 1935-2020

Source: Turk Stat, General Population Censuses and Address Based Population Registration System-ABPRS.Note: The results of the General Population Census (1935-2000) and (ABPRS, 2007-2017) results are compiled from the numerical data; 2000-2025 Population Projections were also used.

Turkey's population increased from 13,6 million in 1927 to approximately 81 million in 2019. Looking at the change in the age structure of the population on the basis of age groups in the period from 1935 to 2020, three important transformations stand out. The first of these, as previously highlighted Turkey's population decrease in the level of fertility and mortality, the improvement in conditions from being with a young population structure over time as a result is increasingly turning to the elderly population. As of 2018, Turkey's elderly population (65+) rate is 8.7 percent. While the ratio of elderly population in total population was 6.8 percent in 2008, it increased to 8.7 percent in 2018. The second is that the share of the population under the age of 15 is reduced over time, again as a result of the decrease in fertility. This population group that constitutes 41 percent of the population in Turkey in 1935, the level of 26 percent in 2007, while decreased by 23 percent in 2017. The share of this population group is expected to decrease to 20 percent in 2027. This demographic change, Turkey is losing its young population shows once again feature. The third important transformation is the increase of the 15-64 age population, which constitutes the working age population, over time.

Together with the prolongation of the average life expectancy depicted by demographic changes depending on the age structure of the population and the increase in the number of elderly, the interconnection and relations of different generations have started to be questioned. The existence of an aging population and the combination of different generations bring about intergenerational differences and issues. The focus of this study is on the differences between generations with aging and the educational needs of different generations. Although the concept of generation has existed from the existence of humanity to the present, the concept of generation in the present sense has started to be included in the history books and chronological belt distinctions have been made in the last century according to the characteristics of today. The main reason for this is that the rate of change experienced in the last century has never been experienced in any period of history. It is inevitable that individuals will change with the change of life processes and that each newborn generation will have the same characteristics but different from previous and next generations.

A combination of different generations, different characteristics of each generation and the social, cultural, economic, political, technological, etc., which shape these characteristics all kinds of factors - makes intergenerational differences more visible. Generations that are nurtured and shaped from different sources have different educational needs and opportunities. The focus of this study is on the differences of three main generations (Baby Boom, X and Y) and their education needs and possibilities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interview Technique: Was used as a data collection tool in the research to be conducted depending on the qualitative research model. Interviewing can be defined as the activity of getting feelings and thoughts from a certain subject.

Intergenerational Mobility: Refers to the change in class or status from parents to their adult children.

Argument From a Conflict Perspective: Is that structural limitations imposed on the schooling of some groups restrict their educational success, thus helping to reproduce the educational and social hierarchies.

Human Capital: The knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods, services or ideas in market circumstances.

Lack of Quality: It is generally not one particular aspect of the service that results in poor quality, but a combination of factors that have a negative effect on children's learning.

Educational Level: It is the levels such as preschool, primary school, lower secondary school, upper secondary and higher education.

Educational Attainment: Refers to the highest level of education that a person has successfully completed.

Baby Boom Generation: Individuals born between 1946 and 1964.

Mobility: Reflects the extent to which individuals move up (or down) the social ladder compared with their parents.

Formal Education: Is the regular education conducted within a school for individuals in a certain age group and at the same level, under programs developed in accordance with the purpose.

Elderly: Old people considered as a group.

Lack of Equipment: An insufficiency, shortage, or absence of something required or desired.

X Generation: Individuals born approximately between the years of 1965 and 1980.

Equality of Opportunity: Refers to the fairness of processes through which individuals with different backgrounds or from different social groups reach particular outcomes, such as educational or occupational goals.

Y Generation: Individuals born approximately between the years of 1981 and 2000.

Generations: A community of people who were born in the same years, who have experienced the social, economic and political events of the recent period and have common values, experiences, sharing and similar responsibilities.

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