Petition to Rename Gen X the ‘DIY Generation’
As far as generational names go, Gen X is kind of snoozy. You’ve got the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Millennials—all cool, engaging names that offer insight into the era in which each set of people grew up in. Even Gen Z, while similar, gets the ultimate letter of the alphabet, and for the past five years, people have been vying to recast the group with a different moniker: The Founders, Zoomers and most recently, Quaranteens.
Some have tried to rechristen Gen X as the Baby Busters, Post-Boomers and Latchkey Generation—essentially, all terms really reflecting the generation before them more than the social and economic trends that shaped them. Well, if an August 2021 survey from warranty company Cinch Home Services is any indication, maybe those terms should be swapped for the DIY Generation. As it turns out, those born between the mid-1960s and 1980 considered themselves “extremely confident” in their ability to fix things around the house, a much higher rate than millennials and baby boomers. And the projects they’ll take on run the gamut: More than half had tried to repair clogged toilets and broken toilet handles, and nearly 40 percent said they’d tried fixing door locks, light switches and patching up holes in drywall. They were also more likely to try repairing their washing machines, dryers, water heaters and stovetops instead of buying new ones.
So, what inspires this interest? Saving money seems to be a big motivator. “Overall, we found that Gen X tended to search the most for deals on items before they replaced them,” Shausta Merrill, VP Customer Contact Center Operations at Cinch Home Services. “Over 77 percent would search Amazon for deals, which is more than millennials or baby boomers would. Gen Xers were also more likely to believe that they could save money by fixing many items instead of replacing them.”
That—combined with an abiding love of watching HGTV (it’s the top non-news cable network among their demo) and easy access to tutorials online—can make Gen X more apt to say, “yeah, I can do that.” It also reflects some of the key characteristics associated with Gen X: critical thinkers, as they tended to attain higher levels of education than previous generations, and being self-reliant (a result of that aforementioned “latchkey” upbringing).
So really, the next time something breaks down, turn to the Gen Xers in your life for help—there’s a good chance they know what’s up. Or, at the very least, they’ll be willing to help you figure it out, even if that means picking up the phone and (finally) calling the plumber.