What Is Generation Alpha?

Updated on February 14, 2023, and originally posted November 4, 2020, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Generation Alpha were born between 2010 and 2025

Kids in the Gen­er­a­tion Alpha club are the first gen­er­a­tion to be born entire­ly with­in the 21st cen­tu­ry. They’re immersed in tech­nol­o­gy and described by diver­si­ty in key areas, includ­ing their race and eth­nic­i­ty, fam­i­ly struc­ture and fam­i­ly finances. They’re also the first gen­er­a­tion to expe­ri­ence an ear­ly child­hood defined by the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic.

This post takes a clos­er look at what we know — for now — about America’s youngest citizens.

Fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions about Gen­er­a­tion Alpha

What birth years define Gen­er­a­tion Alpha?

The term Gen­er­a­tion Alpha refers to the group of indi­vid­u­als born between 2013 and 2025. This is the gen­er­a­tion after Gen Z.

How large is Gen­er­a­tion Alpha?

Every nine sec­onds, a mem­ber of Gen­er­a­tion Alpha is born in the Unit­ed States. Every week, 2.5 mil­lion mem­bers are born world­wide. By 2025 — when one age group gives way to anoth­er — Gen­er­a­tion Alpha will be near­ly 2 bil­lion mem­bers strong across the globe, accord­ing to social ana­lyst Mark McCrindle.

Who came before Gen­er­a­tion Alpha?

Gen­er­a­tion Z came before Gen­er­a­tion Alpha. Mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Z were born between 1997 to 2012 accord­ing to the Pew Research Cen­ter. Gen­er­a­tion Z fol­lows mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Y, more com­mon­ly known as mil­len­ni­als, who were born between 1981 and 1996.

One way to envi­sion how these groups fit togeth­er: Mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Alpha are often the chil­dren of mil­len­ni­als and the younger sib­lings of Gen­er­a­tion Z.

How does Gen­er­a­tion Alpha com­pare to Gen­er­a­tion Z?

Com­par­ing Gen­er­a­tion Alpha ver­sus Gen­er­a­tion Z sta­tis­tics — much like the groups’ mem­bers them­selves — are still devel­op­ing. How­ev­er, if cur­rent trends hold, Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids will be more racial­ly and eth­ni­cal­ly diverse than their Gen­er­a­tion Z coun­ter­parts. Mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Alpha will also be more like­ly to go to col­lege, more like­ly to grow up in a sin­gle-par­ent house­hold and more like­ly to be sur­round­ed by col­lege-edu­cat­ed adults.

While mem­bers of both age groups have grown up with tech­nol­o­gy at their fin­ger­tips, Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids have a key advan­tage. As McCrindle puts it: They are the most mate­ri­al­ly endowed and tech­no­log­i­cal­ly lit­er­ate gen­er­a­tion to ever grace the planet!”

How diverse is Gen­er­a­tion Alpha?

In the Unit­ed States, white peo­ple rep­re­sent a shrink­ing share of the nation’s pop­u­la­tion. For instance: In 2013, the first year that Gen­er­a­tion Alphas were born, 50% of kids ages 0 to 4 were white. In 2020, the most recent year of data on record, just 48% of kids in this same age range were white.

With cen­sus pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions esti­mat­ing that Amer­i­ca will become minor­i­ty white by 2045, it’s safe to say that Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids are on track to become the nation’s most racial­ly and eth­ni­cal­ly diverse gen­er­a­tion yet.

What do we know about Gen­er­a­tion Alpha and technology?

Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kicked off the same year that Apple launched its iPad, Insta­gram made its debut and the Amer­i­can Dialect Soci­ety crowned app” as its word of the year. Sur­round­ed by tech­nol­o­gy from the get-go, this group views dig­i­tal tools as omnipresent — not just a trendy accessory.

Grow­ing up logged on and linked up — aid­ed by the likes of Siri and Alexa and engrossed in videos and all things visu­al — can have its advan­tages, includ­ing greater dig­i­tal lit­er­a­cy and adapt­abil­i­ty. But a child­hood defined by tech­nol­o­gy can also cre­ate chal­lenges, such as short­er atten­tion spans and delayed social devel­op­ment, experts warn.

What do we know about Gen­er­a­tion Alpha and edu­ca­tion­al attainment?

From 2013 to 2019 — the first sev­en years of Gen­er­a­tion Alpha births — the Unit­ed States saw edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment improve among adults between the ages of 25 and 34. Dur­ing this time frame, adults grew more like­ly to hold a bachelor’s (23% to 26%) or grad­u­ate (10% to 11%) degree as their high­est lev­el of edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment. In addi­tion, the share of high school stu­dents who didn’t grad­u­ate on time fell (18% to 14%) dur­ing this same period.

If these trends hold, Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids will be more like­ly to grow up sur­round­ed by col­lege-edu­cat­ed adults com­pared to pri­or gen­er­a­tions. And, once in the class­room, they will be more like­ly to extend their own aca­d­e­m­ic careers and earn a col­lege degree.

What do we know about Gen­er­a­tion Alpha and fam­i­ly structure?

In Gen­er­a­tion Alpha’s first year, the share of kids grow­ing up in a sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­ly was 35%. Thir­teen years pri­or — in 2000 — this same sta­tis­tic was only 31%. If this trend holds, Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids will be more like­ly to live in sin­gle-par­ent house­holds — and in greater num­bers — than any age group before them.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, kids in sin­gle-par­ent house­holds have been more like­ly to strug­gle com­pared to their peers in two-par­ent fam­i­lies. For instance, kids raised by just one par­ent run a high­er risk of drop­ping out of school and expe­ri­enc­ing an ear­ly preg­nan­cy and divorc­ing their spouse in adult­hood. Research indi­cates that under­ly­ing fac­tors — such as strong and sta­ble rela­tion­ships, parental men­tal health, socioe­co­nom­ic sta­tus and access to resources — have a greater impact on child suc­cess than does fam­i­ly struc­ture alone.

How has the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic impact­ed Gen­er­a­tion Alpha?

While some experts are already call­ing COVID-19 a defin­ing moment” for Gen­er­a­tion Alpha, it’s still too ear­ly to know exact­ly how the pan­dem­ic will impact America’s fam­i­lies and future.

Here’s what we do know: In ear­ly 2020, when the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic forced schools and most employ­ers to oper­ate remote­ly, tech­nol­o­gy came to the res­cue for the major­i­ty, but not all chil­dren. For many kids — includ­ing the old­est mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Alpha, now in ele­men­tary school — screen time soared, with the screens them­selves dou­bling as class­room black­boards and emer­gency babysit­ters. At the same time, fam­i­lies recoiled into their homes, play dates stopped and extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties were can­celed. The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is con­tin­u­ing to track the effects of COVID-19 on chil­dren, youth, young adults and fam­i­lies through the KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter and oth­er sur­veys.

Pre-pan­dem­ic, experts pro­ject­ed that Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids would fol­low in the activist foot­steps of Gen­er­a­tion Z and keep sus­tain­abil­i­ty near the top of their pri­or­i­ty list. Now, COVID-19’s rad­i­cal reset of soci­etal norms could fur­ther inten­si­fy this age group’s inter­est in reimag­in­ing a green­er, health­i­er world.

What do we know about Gen­er­a­tion Alpha and fam­i­ly finances?

In the Unit­ed States, in 2019, 17% of all chil­dren — 12 mil­lion kids total — were liv­ing in pover­ty. While the share of kids liv­ing in pover­ty has fluc­tu­at­ed over the past decade, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has nev­er been wider, accord­ing to U.S. Cen­sus Bureau fig­ures. Fur­ther, the nation’s Black-white income gap isn’t clos­ing and has widened since the first Gen Alphas were born; the medi­an income for Black house­holds fell a stag­ger­ing $51,800 short of white house­holds in 2019.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, these gaps — report­ed pre-pan­dem­ic — are not like­ly to improve any­time soon. In the sum­mer of 2022, rough­ly one in four Black (24%), Lati­no (27%) and two or more race (23%) house­holds with kids expe­ri­enced a recent loss of employ­ment income, com­pared with just over one in 10 white (11%) and Asian (12%) households.

For Gen­er­a­tion Alpha kids grow­ing up in America’s poor­est house­holds, the chal­lenges inter­twined in their fam­i­ly finances are wide rang­ing and long last­ing. Pover­ty ele­vates a child’s risk of expe­ri­enc­ing behav­ioral, social-emo­tion­al and health chal­lenges. Child pover­ty also reduces skill-build­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and aca­d­e­m­ic out­comes, under­cut­ting a young student’s capac­i­ty to learn, grad­u­ate from high school and more.

How can I learn more about Gen­er­a­tion Alpha?

Gen­er­a­tion Alphas are still arriv­ing — and so are the data for this age group. See hun­dreds of sta­tis­tics on child health and well-being for this gen­er­a­tion and oth­er ages in the KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter.

A few resources to explore now include:

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