A new study, titled "The X Factor: Tapping into the Strengths of the 33- to 46-year-old Generation," concluded that Gen Xers, who you might think of as the Reality Bites generation, have gradually shed their slacker reputation to become more ambitious and educated.
But they are also more likely to be childless than members of their parents' generation: More than 40 percent of women surveyed who were ages 41 to 45 didn't have children.
According to the study, during Generation X's peak years, more than 34 percent of them were enrolled in colleges and universities. Women and minorities made up 64 percent of graduates.
The downside to these positive numbers is that debt has been a major contributing factor in the career choices of Gen Xers: 43 percent of them said their ability to pay off their student loans is an important factor in their career decisions, while 74 percent cited credit card debt as a factor.
Other factors that make the Gen X outlook less than rosy: multiple boom and bust market cycles and the current housing slump. As a result, they're the first generation not meeting the living standards of their parents.
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