What Are Your Generation’s Chances of Surviving Doomsday?

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Could the year you were born have any bearing on your chances of surviving doomsday? Are there any advantages for one generation over another when it comes to living through some apocalyptic event? Do these labels (Baby Boomer, Generation X, Millennial), that somehow became affixed to relatively random ranges of time, hold some clue as to whether or not you and a bunch of your high school buddies could make it through a zombie apocalypse or invasion of mutant bikers from mars?

I was thinking about this topic from the singular perspective of my sometimes least favorite generation the other day: Millennials. Sometimes they are called Generation Y, but no matter what they are called in the media, their collective praises are sung at such high levels, in every facet of our society of how important this latest generation is to our country, planet and probably the entire universe as well. The Millennial generation has received so much attention over the years that at times it nauseates me. If you didn’t know better you would swear anyone who wasn’t a millennial was both stupid and had purposely made a mess out of everything from the paper clip industry to education to race relations and the planet. Thank God we finally had Millennials to save us from ourselves.

No, I am not a millennial.

But this has been going on for a relatively long time of several years and there wasn’t some new event that prompted me to think about them although it could have derived from some conversation in the office I work during the day. The company I work for (yes I have a real job too) has a vested interest in making Millennials happy so I am forever hearing what the Millennials like and don’t like. What motivates millennials and what inspires them, what they prefer in a job and their thoughts on giving back to the community to the point where I simply don’t care what happens to these people to a great extent anymore. After a little too much of this I started to think of a way to excoriate them in the Prepper Journal.

Instead of just looking at this one generation though, I thought it might make sense to step back and look at the three largest or most influential generations we have going right now, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials and see which of them would have the best chances of surviving doomsday. So, mustering all of the highly anecdotal evidence I can; here is what I believe the results would look like if we faced a TEOTWAWKI disaster. For the record, this is not a scientific article, just in case that wasn’t clear.

what are baby boomers chances for survival?
You don’t get to be in your 60s usually without learning a lot of life’s lessons; some of them the hard way.

Baby Boomer Prepper odds of survival

Born between the years 1946 and 1964 – currently aged 51 to 69

Baby boomers have a lot of things going for them. Generally speaking they no longer have children at home to worry about or if they do, most of them are pretty self-sufficient in the respect that they can fend for themselves if need be and they are so inclined. Baby boomers are looking forward to retirement even if the economy has put their plans on hold for a little while. Houses are largely if not completely paid off for a lot of boomers and some have more than one property.

Most of the big purchases we make in life are already acquired by the time you reach this age so Baby Boomers have a little more disposable income. They also have the benefit of being old enough to remember a good bit of life without the modern conveniences we have today. Even if their parents, “the Greatest Generation” pampered them to the point of enabling societal changes we might not agree with, by and large they have benefited from a good degree of hard work. I think this along with the historical long-view of a well-lived life gives boomers an advantage. They have seen what works and what doesn’t and for those who are awake to the goings on of the society around them, prepping makes sense. You don’t get to be in your 60s usually without learning a lot of life’s lessons; some of them the hard way.

However, age does have its drawbacks. While Baby boomers might be able to afford more time spent training or learning new skills, or making larger purchases of prepping supplies, they also have more health issues associated with age. One study called Baby Boomers, the Sickest Generation with higher rates of Obesity, High Cholesterol, Diabetes and Hypertension. In addition to requiring more medication, parts start failing you the older you get. Some of the most common surgeries for Baby boomers are Knee Replacements, Angioplasty, and Hip replacement. Not good news for a group of people who may be forced to walk long distances in a bug out scenario.

Could Generation X have a leg up when it comes to surviving disaster
Generation X should not suffer from as many of the health issues of their Baby Boomer parents, but aren’t as spry as they once were either.

Generation X Preppers

Born between the years 1964 and 1980 – currently aged 35 to 51

Generation X is the forgotten generation. I say that because I am one of them and with all the attention focused on Baby Boomers retiring and the needs of the Millennials my generation has been rendered largely irrelevant it seems in the eyes of just about everyone. Pew research calls us America’s neglected middle child and that is what it feels like sometimes. However, this really isn’t an issue that keeps me up at night because I, like a lot of my fellow Gen X’ers are too busy at this stage of our life to care. Generation X is the typical quasi middle-aged group and we have our own set of strengths and weaknesses. Finally done with the more self-absorbed time of their lives, people in this generation are focused on protecting their families, growing their wealth if that is possible and are generally more aware of the world around them.

For Generation X preppers, we tend to be well along into careers with a somewhat stable life. Instead of partying every night, we are most likely at home watching TV. We have made it through the “wild times” of our younger days and have gained a little perspective and hopefully wisdom. Generation X may have children still living at home, but depending on where they fall on the scale, their ages might be all over the map. Prepping for family members is more of a focus for this generation. Most Gen X’ers do not have a remote property or enough disposable income to go hog-wild into prepping.

Generation X is coming into a more stable time of their lives financially if they have been lucky to weather the economic storms from the last 6 years and stocking up, while it isn’t easy may be more possible than someone still struggling through college or raising babies. Generation X people should not suffer from as many of the health issues of their Baby Boomer parents, but aren’t as spry as they once were either. Eyesight starts to go during this age and you learn you can’t eat what you used to be able to and quickly lose weight.

Will Millennials even know when disaster hits?
What will the highly functioning Millennial do in a world without Google to search for the answers to their questions?

The Millennial Prepper’s chances of surviving TEOTWAWKI

Born between the years 1980 and 2000 – currently aged 15 to 35

The Millennial generation is characterized by traits that our society views now as highly desirable. Often described as a product of the electronic age they have grown up in, Millennials are multi-taskers, connected via the internet to all their friends, all the time and are tech-savvy. Probably because they have been plugged into some device since they were born. With a world that has electricity, internet and no major problems, these skills seem to be great resume enhancements.

Millennials shouldn’t have any health issues at this point in their lives that couldn’t be cured by getting outside every once in a while, but their reliance on technology could be a huge factor if that is taken away suddenly. What will the highly functioning Millennial do in a world without Google to search for the answers to their questions? What will the young, technologically savvy person do if GPS doesn’t work or the car won’t start? Could this dependence on technology be a hindrance to their survival? Could the same children that were raised on a lifestyle of “Everybody wins” sports teams with helicopter parents who always took care of their every need pull themselves up and do what is necessary to survive or would they sit back and cry “unfair” at any slight that doesn’t go their way?

Just the Facts  Please

I know that the descriptions above are highly stereotypical and are even more they are very subjective. Every single person doesn’t fit into the broad categories above and I know for a fact that your chances of survival come down primarily to what you have inside yourself more so than what a lot of marketing guru’s say about you or your peers.

Knowing that each and every person is unique, I tried to find a better data point that would help me determine which Generation would have the best chances of surviving doomsday. The only objective data I could pull was from the actual viewers of the Prepper Journal so I measured the demographic information through analytics for the last two years. The results were a little surprising to me.

For the last two years May 13 to May 15 (over 6.2 million views)

  • 27% of the total Views were from people aged 55-older (Boomers)
  • 40.95% of the total Views were from people aged 35 – 54 (Generation X)
  • 31.1 % of the total Views were from people aged 18 -34 (Millennials)

So what does this tell me? I had expected that the overwhelming majority of our page views would be from people roughly my age and older but the demographics were very similar across the generations. I had expected the self-absorbed Me Me Me generation, of which 2 of my children belong, would be absent from any site that dealt with concepts like this. I thought that people their age would not care or even think about survival and by extension, their absence would be some verification that they don’t take issues like prepping for disasters seriously. I was wrong.

I have said before that you can’t be too old to prep and I do believe that virtually anyone can take steps to give themselves a better chance, no matter what the disaster turns out to be in your life. If I can measure anything from the data above, it is that people from all the generations are curious about learning the subject of  prepping. Logic would say that everyone is trying to be more prepared and that every generation more or less is equipping themselves with knowledge. Their readership of sites like this one and tons of others suggests they already have the will to survive.

I guess I need to also say that you can never be too young to prep either. I shouldn’t write off a generation of people, largely based on what marketing or the experts tell me. From the youngest grade-school age child to the most senior among us, there are people from all walks of life interested in prepping and that gives me great hope for our future.

Perhaps if something happens we will stop referring to different ages by labels and share a trait more powerful than marketing demographics. Maybe we will all be able to survive as one generation.

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Marie
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Marie

I’m X. My husband is a Millennial. When we started getting into prepping, I focused on the more urgent needs such as food, protection, etc. After we got to a point we felt we were somewhat secure, I sat back and felt pretty good about things. He went off in a direction I never even would have considered. He amassed a collection of arduinos, computer and electronic parts, and a bunch of other things which just look like random junk to me. And I had a lot of trouble seeing value in it as in grid-down or TEOTWAWKI, there would… Read more »

EgbertThrockmorton1
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EgbertThrockmorton1

I’m a boomer, and our adult children are two Xers and one Millennial. Our Millennial is far and away more heads up prepared than the other two, however, they and their families are getting and better prepared than MOST of their peers. Being grandparents albeit young ones(we think), we have been giving “the Gift of Preparedness” for all Birthdays and holidays. Seems to work well and the gifts are used an appreciated. While I/we survive an apocalyptic event? Don’t know, but if we do, we WILL be better prepared than most of the population. Don’t want to be a drag… Read more »

LWJ
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LWJ

Hey Pat, where is my Trophy??

Pat Henry
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It will be waiting at the awards banquet for you LWJ along with your MVP award that will will be giving out to everyone else as well.

BobW
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BobW

There will be a natural balance in all things. Everyone’s reasons why they do what they do will be different. If you compared city folk to country folk, your viewership may show more skewing. All of my ‘city folk’ co-workers read the same news I do, but interpret it completely differently. Young or old, everything is going to be fine. Conversely, most of my ‘outdoor’ friends view world events much more like I do. I say outdoor instead of ‘country’ because, well, I’m not country. I might have a country mindset, spend my free time outdoors, but grew up, and… Read more »

BobW
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BobW

Sorry, I guess I got a little side tracked on that one. That and more will be a part of my piece on “how to not raise a dumbass.”

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I can’t tell you how much would LOVE to read a piece named, “How Not to Raise a Dumbass” Bob! Go for it!

Pat Henry
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I hear you Bob. I knew I was generalizing but it looks like it worked to elicit some great dialog on this topic. Thanks as always for contributing!

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I’m an X. I work with many Millennials. I don’t work with as many Boomers, but there is a decent population of them where I work. Two of my kids and most of their friends are Millenial. I think some of the perception painted at the people who are just starting out is caused by people trying to think up things to talk about in social media and business articles because, when I ask the people in that age range what they think, those I’ve talked to think the stereotypes are just as obnoxious as I do. I have yet… Read more »

Pat Henry
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I know what you mean Elizabeth and probably some of my own distaste for that was part of my motivation to write about those dang millennials. The article ended up in a place I didn’t think it would go but that happens frequently when I write. Maybe that means I should keep it shorter… 🙂

Efficient Pilgrim
Guest

It’s not a generational thing so much as how generationally diverse and ideologically cohesive your group is. Ideally, wouldn’t you want those with skills and financial stability to support or mentor those with energy and physical stamina? And, hopefully, the physically fit would benefit from the advice and provide support to those in poor health. There is something for everyone to contribute.
I always wanted to flatten the tires of the motor homes with bumper stickers reading. “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.”
Younger people would have more success at stealing and killing to survive …

BobW
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BobW

You bring up an interesting concept. Previous generations can teach us so much about what was assume will always work. Short story: My pops came out to visit a while back, and linked up with me and the kids camping in the trailer. The trailer broke, and I immediately fell into the role of “Qui Chan Kane” learning at the knee of the master while we worked through diagnosing the problem, and “gittin’ ‘er done.” Sounds funny for a grown man to willingly accept that he is not the master, but part of being a man (to me anyway) is… Read more »

LWJ
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LWJ

Alas a lot of things that are built these days are not meant to be easily fixed at all. The quality of many things these days seems to be going down hill. A great example is the good old 870. I have two and they were built to last back in the day. Now the new builds seem pretty cheap and flimsy.

BobW
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BobW

Agreed. Needless increases in complexity ensures that a greater percentage of the populace seeks out a ‘qualified’ technician to fix the item, or depending on cost, just replaces it. Either way results in increased profit to the mfg, as they get paid to certify repair facilities, or own them out right.

With extreme price competition, came enhanced manufacturing techniques, which is a nice way of finding cheaper alternatives to the old way of doing it. The price remained the same (or more for the ‘new and improved’ version. In quality items, that rarely meant better.

NRP
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NRP

I’m a Boomer, raised by Depression-ites in the X-er’s home and schools working in the Millennial world, God no wonder I’m all messed up.
I’m not really sure any one “generation” is prepared on what’s coming down the pike. In the prepper world sure we do what we can, and will probably outlast 95% of all the rest when the SHTF. I really don’t think it has anything to do with age or “generation” it’s all about what we are exposed to and have interest in.

Pat Henry
Guest

Yeah, that is what I think too NRP. The headline was just a tease.

Karyn
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Karyn

I agree as well. Truly that is what it boils down to. I bit into tease with my response but still feel it resonates.

Mike Lashewitz
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Mike Lashewitz

It will be the old soldiers who will make the greatest difference. We are experienced in survival at all odds and experienced in actually pulling a trigger, Many of us have the survival training and the least amount of fear because we have been in SHTF scenarios. Which is why the DHS labeled us all as terrorists.

BobW
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BobW

Mike, the challenge for us old Soldiers is not acting like an old Soldier. Keeping an open mind, finding the good in the ideas of others, helping build coalitions vs always being the discenting, crotchety old man will be important in building and maintaining a group. Personally, I’ve come to realize that I’m the right kind of personality to be the 2nd in command type. With the right group, I’m a solid leader, willing to entertain alternate ways of doing things, but with a more diverse group, a smoother operator is needed to hold things together. I won’t attempt to… Read more »

Mike Lashewitz
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Mike Lashewitz

BobW, It is true some are not leaders and some are not followers. What I see in our future is towns and cities declaring their independence from federal rule. I see states doing the same. I also see a lot of strife and we will be the ones who make the difference between a city succumbing to crime and criminal government or becoming self sufficient and surviving. Our government has destroyed America’s independence. Forging us to rely on foreign imports and shipping our jobs and wealth to over seas interests. The enemy is well defined and few. We will do… Read more »

Pat Henry
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That is so funny that you say that Bob, because I have had the exact same thoughts about being the 2nd in command…. makes we want to write a post about that.

RedClay
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RedClay

As a boomer, I see those strengths too, Mike L, however, I also know my physical limits & health condition are not what they used to be. & see many similar health issues in the boomers & older folks I know. In a post shtf, grid down scenario, we’re going to need younger folks w/ strong backs to help w/ all the extra physical work of survival.

Mike Lashewitz
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Mike Lashewitz

You are correct which is why the government is pushing a race war. Get the kids to kill each other off.

Bolofia
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Bolofia

Pat, Interesting and thought provoking article, as always. My two cents, for what they are worth: I’m not at all sure that it’s a generational issue. Physical and mental couch potatoes are spread across each of the generations that you’ve discussed. Although Boomers generally have greater financial resources, that does not mean that they are any more prepared, capable or competent to survive a TEOTWAWKI scenario than Millenials, who are leveraged to the hilt. I did a quick mental inventory of the family, friends, associates and people that I know well enough to assess their survival prospects. Frankly, I doubt… Read more »

LWJ
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LWJ

I agree with your thought process. I learned a lot of things from my parents and various role models growing up which impacted and molded my mindset. As an Army brat growing up with a dad who was a 1stSgt and gone for long periods of time, we were a one income family. While not poor my mother had to budget like a demon, which is a skill she passed on to me. Being flexible is one of the best traits a prepper can have. Adapt or Die folks.

Bolofia
Guest
Bolofia

Well said. I probably should have qualified my remarks by saying that I live in an area that has an ‘above average’ population of retired folks (including snowbirds), but I work with a lot of Gen X people and interact with Millenials on a daily basis. That said, my locale is rural, has a lot of ranching, is characterized by people who have an attitude of self sufficiency and who are politically conservative. Unfortunately, none of those characteristics translate to preparedness. I would estimate that much of the population in my locale is not physically capable of surviving TEOTWAWKI (for… Read more »

LWJ
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LWJ

To add to your point, we had a family trip to the mall this afternoon, so my wife could go to the jewelry store and get a stone replaced in her ring. Low and behold I see a big fella who was prob pushing about 330. Now what really killed me is the fact that he decided to open carry as well. He had a 1911 in a Serpa, but he did not have a round chambered. This to me is pointless because he was not ready to fight and his display was a waste of time, and just put… Read more »

Pat Henry
Guest

I saw something similar last week where I guy was walking his dog on the same block as our local police station open carry. From his appearance he didn’t look like he was on the force at all and I have to assume he was trying to initiate a confrontation or just show off. I think either is misguided in most cases.

BobW
Guest
BobW

Terribly misguided, Pat. I support peoples’ right to carry, be it concealed or open, but these bone heads who show up at a local restaurant with their ARs ‘to show they can do it’ are just stupid. They seem to think that they are exercising their rights, but all they are really doing is polarizing the issue even more. I can honestly say I have no desire to sit down with my family at the local IHOP across from a table full of heavily armed knuckleheads. I’ll get up and leave for no more reason than reducing our risk exposure.… Read more »

Pat Henry
Guest

I always welcome your two cents Bolo! I completely agree with you that to a person, what they have inside will more determine their chances of survival than any of these generational buckets. I was painting with a really broad brush but I think a lot of people who think they are prepared really aren’t. I do give some credit to people who are trying if for nothing else than they show a spirit of survival somewhere deep inside. It will be up to each person in the end to show if they have more than a check-out isle fascination… Read more »

EgbertThrockmorton1
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EgbertThrockmorton1

Our three adult children will survive anything that comes their way. All three are far smarter and more “efficient” than their parents every will be. Yes, I am grateful for their capabilities.

BobW
Guest
BobW

While I agree with the sentiment that its whats inside that matters, the will to survive, while vainly checking your $700 iPhone to see if it works is still going to be fatal. The generational axiom you laid down in the article is really right on. No group is one way. But for every strong willed, independent country boy/girl, there are five or more suburban and urban kids that don’t even know how to make themselves dinner. Some years ago, my younger sister called my wife to ask her how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. She was probably 22… Read more »

Bolofia
Guest
Bolofia

Bob,
The thoughts you have expressed hit the bull’s eye. One of these days we are going to get a fearsome wake up call and I don’t know if anyone will answer it.

LWJ
Guest
LWJ

Actually my I Phone is quite the handy little beast. I can store all sorts of useful files and manuals in it. My flashlight app is a handy back up if needed. Same thing with the camera and calculator. As long as it has juice it is not dead weight. Every generation has people who are The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Being willing to use technology does not make one weaker per se. I have ACOG’s on my rifles for a reason. Tis much faster for me to engage targets with them, then with the old fashioned iron… Read more »

Pat Henry
Guest

I agree with you on that point LWJ. Without the internet, the message of prepping wouldn’t spread quickly outside of the pockets where it is practiced as a way of life.

RedClay
Guest
RedClay

I’ve read somewhere that 2-3% of the US population are preppers/survivalists, & we tend to think that we preppers will last longer than the ave unprepared population. However, I believe there will be events & circumstances that we cannot foreseen, & we may not survive as long or as well as we tend to imagine. Additionally, I believe some backyard farmers (who may not see themselves as preppers) may also be better supplied, at least in terms of a food supply. I’m sure that there are animal trappers & fishermen in a similar way. & there are non-preppers who are… Read more »

Andrew Jason
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Andrew Jason

I’m 25 years old, and due to my attention to political climate and economics I have definitely become interested in prepping for the future. I work in IT but am a very hands on/didactic individual and I am very disappointed in the lack of manufacturing and physical jobs in our country. I think we as humans have an instinctual need to build REAL things. Prepping almost seems instinctual.

Great article by the way. Don’t believe all the media hype. My generation may be in a weird phase right now, but I think we will come around.

Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you very much Andrew and I am glad to hear you are focused and interested in getting prepared. I do have faith in your generation and regardless of whatever society says matters, it will come down to each person’s values and principles that rule how they will live I think, not marketing experts.

Andrew Smith
Guest
Andrew Smith

I’m a millennial in my senior year of high school, and was fortunate enough to have been brought into the world of scouting by my father. Now I am a proud Eagle Scout and confidently say I could survive with out technology due to the skills I was taught. Unlike me, almost every other student I know in my high school (approx 1500) do not know anything about what is going on around the world, how to survive in the wilderness, how to read a map, or even make food with out calling dominoes for take out. In my personal… Read more »

Pat Henry
Guest

Congratulations on your Eagle Scout Andrew! You will probably need to share your knowledge with your peers someday.

Andrew Smith
Guest
Andrew Smith

I already have tried working on getting together a small survival group and have had some success, hopefully others will understand that being prepared doesn’t mean the end of the world, but could be as simple as being ready for a bad storm or power outage.

Karyn
Guest
Karyn

Every narrator of these forums always selects their own generation as the victor. However based on my research The millenials are most likely. They are the inbetween of the spectrum. Brains constructed to improvise and create solutions at a far larger capacity than Generation X. Also they are more exposed to education and free knowledge. However their parents are of that era where things were difficult & have enforced their old school ways of working with hands & strength of body into them. The children of the millenials are currently hopeless in an apocalypse. Generation X will survive long but… Read more »