What's a Zoomer? A Look at the Informal Term for Gen Z

Updated March 17, 2022
three teen Zoomer friends having fun after school
    three teen Zoomer friends having fun after school
    kate_sept2004 / E+ / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Could it be someone who zooms between traffic lanes at high speeds? Maybe a cute name for a dog who never walks but always runs? The possibilities for the definition of Zoomer are endless — but if you’re talking to someone born at the end of the 20th century, there’s probably only one meaning that fits. (Keep it in mind for the cute dog name, though.)

Boomer + Gen Z = Zoomer

The nickname Zoomer refers to someone from Generation Z. Playing on the nickname for those born during the Baby Boom of the mid-20th century and the shortened version of “Generation X” before them, Zoomers were born anytime between 1996-2010.

They’re older than Generation Alpha, who was born after 2011, and are younger than:

  • Millennials (born 1980-1995)

  • Gen X (born 1965-1979)

  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)

  • the Silent Generation (1928-1944)

  • the Greatest Generation (born 1901-1927)

While Generation Y eventually became known as Millennials, the colloquial term for Generation X is simply the shortened “Gen X” (“X” being the symbol of an unknown, undefinable variable, as Gen X was an unknown generation at the time). And Generation Z seems to be following in their footsteps: While Zoomers is fun to say, Gen Z is a more popular term than Zoomer.


Ok, Zoomer

The derisive comment “Ok, Boomer” is a Millennial's favorite way to tell a Baby Boomer that their opinion isn’t important. So can the same be said for “Ok, Zoomer?” Sure — but make sure you understand the implications of what you’re about to say.

When you scoff “Ok, Boomer,” you’re making someone else feel old and out of touch. “Ok, Zoomer” has the opposite effect: You’re making yourself sound old and out of touch. Sure, they may feel a little burned by you hinting that they’re naive and inexperienced, but that just translates to “young,” which highlights the fact that you are not.

The Zoomer Place in History

Zoomers’ birth years fall on either side of the 21st century, placing them at a very pivotal moment in history. As such, they have specific traits and preferences that other generations may not understand right away (because it’s not like other generations have their own traits and preferences, right?).

For instance, older Zoomers:

  • were born around the same time that Google was invented

  • were too young to remember September 11, 2001

  • have never known a world without cell phone use

  • were in elementary school when smartphones first came out

  • were in middle or high school during the Great Recession of 2008

  • were in college or the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

However, younger Zoomers:

  • were born around the same time that Facebook was invented

  • learn about September 11, 2001 and the Great Recession of 2008 in history class

  • have never known a world without smartphones

  • were in elementary or junior high school during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • will enter the workforce in the mid-2020s

In addition, thanks to the presence of technology in Zoomers’ lives, they are innovative, well-informed and more educated than any generation before them. So be careful the next time you insult a Zoomer — they might just invent your next job.


Youth Isn’t Wasted on the Young