America's Defining Moments

Americans across four generations name the five most significant historic events in their lifetimes

Which historic events, occurring in your lifetime, do you think have had the greatest impact on our country? According to a survey conducted in 2016 by the Pew Research Center, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was the answer given by majorities of four of America’s living generations. See below for what other major historical events (pre-COVID-19 pandemic) shaped each of the generations’ lives.

Need a quick primer on our generations? Visit this page, or here’s a shortcut: Members of the Silent Generation were born 1928-1945, Baby Boomers were born 1946-1964, Generation Xers were born 1965-1980, and Millennials were born 1981-1996.

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  • Test your knowledge on the differences among America's generations

    How Well Do You Know Each Generation?

    Test your knowledge on the differences among America's generations

  • Born: 1981-1996 (currently ages 24-39)

    Millennials

    Born: 1981-1996 (currently ages 24-39)

  • Born: 1946-1964 (currently ages 56-74)

    Baby Boomers

    Born: 1946-1964 (currently ages 56-74)