News & Politics

Generation X Is Now Driving NPR’s Audience Growth

Generation X may have found a way to no longer be the demographic group no one cares about: They’re crucial to public media! People born between 1963 and 1982 represented 32 percent of NPR’s cumulative audience in spring 2017, according to Nielsen ratings.

Gen X’ers also had more “touchpoints” to NPR content than other generations. They use phones, tablets, radios, internet-enabled cars, all of which perhaps represent their unique position between tech-agnostic baby boomers and tech-native millennials. Generation X also had the most paths to NPR content, which means people who bore their coworkers with stories about the original Lollapalooza are now listening to podcasts and looking at NPR’s web content as well as consuming radio.

Together with millennials, Gen X represented the strongest parts of NPR’s audience growth. More than a quarter of all US 25-54-year-olds listened to an NPR member station each month during this past spring, and 6 percent listened once a day or more. Across all generations, NPR had its strongest ratings period ever this past spring: Listenership didn’t drop off after the presidential election, and there were 37.7 million listeners for all programming on member stations.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.