People of Generation Y have the nickname millennials, because many of them graduated around the year 2000, the millenium.

People of Generation Z are sometimes called centennials. "Centennial" means "100th anniversary," and I don't see how this generation has anything to do with the number 100.

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    Interestingly, when I first heard the term I had no idea it applied to me, I thought it was for the generation born around the new millennium. I am with you that calling the generation after millennial, "centennial", is very confusing.
    – Skooba
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 0:06
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    I don't get it either, but then I'm a Baby Boomer so I've had it good all my life and don't care ;-) I also think smilies are meaningful :-( Not only that but I'm British so the worst of the Gen X,Y,Z stuff has passed me by. The really good thing is that that the people who invent this nonsense have now run out of letters and the turn of the Century/Millenium is almost 20 years ago so either they will have to be genuinely creatve for once or let their heads explode (and I really don't care which they do).
    – BoldBen
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 15:22
  • If they had thought ahead, they would have started with Gen A.
    – ab2
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 15:20

2 Answers 2


Millennials are named after the turn of the millennium, while centennials are named after the turn of the century (not a hundredth anniversary). As a matter of logic, a turn of the millennium is, at the same time, also a turn of the century. The most recent instances of both took place at exactly the same time. One would thus expect millennials and centennials to be different terms for the same people. The distinction between them was manufactured by naming the millennials after the time when they reached adulthood or developed towards it, and naming the centennials after the approximate time when they were born. There is no deep reason for the naming to have been done that way; it could have been done the other way round.

Such terms are typically created and pushed into circulation by those who write for the popular media, and who are more interested in whether the term sounds attention-grabbing than in whether its use is conducive to clarity and precision. They have thus chosen 'centennials because it's a cool name, that references the already established name of millennials, not because it makes sense', as DJClayworth has earlier put it in the comments. Fortunately, at the moment, the term centennials does not yet seem to be well entrenched; those of us who do care about clarity and precision can thus still hope that it will eventually fizzle out and be replaced by something else. Generation Z may be unimaginative, but it does have the advantage of not being confusing.


As suggested by the following extract “centennials” refer to century, in the sense that those who belong to the so called Generation Z were born around the turn of the century, not to be confused with millennials who were born mainly in the last two decades of the second millennium:

  • Millennial– According to Wikipedia, a millennial (also known as Gen Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends, but researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Millennials are often up to date with new media tactics, and are shying away from the suburbs for more populated areas and searching often for quality over quantity in life, having children later and are focused on corporate responsibility.


  • CentennialPeople who were born around the turn of the century. Mostly 13-18 year olds now Dubbed ‘Generation Z’ these permit holding youths are practical and value-conscious, who relish experiences and use the enormous amount of information at their disposal to unearth unique stories. Could be labeled as ‘needing’ technology to get through daily life.

From infantry.com

  • So 2001 is considered the turn of the century, not the millennium?
    – user
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 19:03
  • @PaulParker - 2001 is both the turn of the millennium and of the century , of course, but millennials was a term already in use for those born in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Centennial refers the following generation, which, shows different characteristics from the previous one.
    – user66974
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 19:30
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    So the point is that they are dubbed "Centennials" because it's a cool name, that references the already established name of "Millenials", not because it makes sense. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 16:06
  • @DJClayworth, your comment is the only thing on this page that actually answers the question. Would you mind posting its as an answer, so that it can be voted on.
    – jsw29
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 16:52

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