Four years ago there was, save a few thousand, only the population of Palmerston North between them.
The number of Kiwis in the three generational cohorts which make up the bulk of New Zealand's adult population was, according to Stats NZ figures and now part of a Herald interactive, roughly equal.
Baby boomers, the massive cohort of those born over almost two decades after the world's deadliest war, numbered 1.08 million, as did the Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996.
Even Gen X, sandwiched between the two and knocked around numbers-wise for various reasons over the decades, wasn't doing too badly.
Its members, born between 1965 and 1980, numbered a million - just 80,000, a smidge below Palmerston North's population of 88,000, fewer than their elder Boomers and younger Millennials.
A lot's happened since 2017, too much of it ghastly and gruelling.
But our country hasn't only been changed by the tragedies in Christchurch and on Whakaari, the hard discussions around climate change, inequality and housing, and the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
It's also been changed by numbers - our numbers - how many of us there are in each of the social generations that went unnamed before the emergence of the demographically immense Boomers and that have now reached the youngest of our citizens - the under 8s or, for now, Generation Alpha.
By birth, they're no Boomers. But chart the number of Millennials in New Zealand on a graph since 2014 - well after the youngest Millennials were born - and it rises like the peak of a Covid-19 infection graph.
From equal footing with Boomers in 2017, and not too far ahead of Gen Xers, Kiwis aged between 25 and 40 soared to reach 1.16m last year. Boomers remained unchanged at 1.08m while Generation X rose slightly to 1.03m.
The lead came in 2018, growing the following year, when Green MP and late-born Millennial Chloe Swarbrick, 26, went viral after responding to a National MP who heckled her with a casual "Ok, Boomer."
Our most populous older generation remains a powerhouse, for the most part due to its still significant size, white privilege and wealth but, in numbers at least and at last, Millennials have scored their first win.
So, how did we get here?
How many New Zealanders are in each generation today?
This graph shows the shape of our population in 2021. The chart's bars show how many people currently living in New Zealand were born each year.
Read to the end of the article for an interactive version of this chart.
'That's the year ... we supercharged the incoming migrants'
This is a story, largely, about migration - those who left and didn't return, and those who came, and stayed.
Epsom real estate agent Deep Kaur is one.
In July 2019 the 38-year-old and her husband packed up their young family and moved from northern India to Auckland.
Living costs were lower in their home city of Chandigarh - before coming to New Zealand Kaur had never cooked a meal, with domestic help taking care of all the household chores.
But the couple wanted something New Zealand could offer they believed their homeland couldn't, she said.
"I have two daughters, and I wanted a safer environment for them."
They were a small family who were part of a big change - in our last full year before Covid-19 shut borders around the world, net migration to New Zealand soared to 72,600.
Net migration - the difference between the number of immigrants moving to, and emigrants leaving, the same place over a year - has been on the plus side of the ledger in New Zealand since 2013.
Between 2014 and 2018 net migration to New Zealand topped at least 47,000 annually, including almost 63,000 in 2016 and just under 60,000 in 2015, according to Stats NZ.
So it's no surprise to sociologist Paul Spoonley that Millennials - who numbered 915,000 in 1996, the last year their generation was born - have grown at pace since 2013, when there were 948,000 of them.
"That's the year, 2013, when we supercharged the incoming migrants", the Massey University professor says.
"And year-on-year the numbers arriving just keeps going up and up until 2019 … when our net gain per thousand people was 11.2. In Australia, for the same year, it was six."
Kaur, who was a dentist in her homeland but switched to real estate because she could only get jobs as a dentist's assistant in New Zealand, is hoping the big move's a permanent one.
The couple - her husband has just completed his third business master's degree and plans to become a financial advisor - are on work visas but plan to apply for permanent residency.
New Zealand's "given us quite a lot in two years": she loves her job, her husband was given a scholarship after excelling in his studies and their daughters, aged 6 and 10, have adjusted to their new way of life.
But the family still faces the challenges so familiar to those of their generation.
They worry about being able to afford a home as Auckland house prices climb ever upward, and balancing home and work when both parents want and, because of the cost of living, need to work is an ongoing struggle, Kaur says.
"That's the only challenge I'm unable to resolve in my life. I'm not able to balance my life with kids and home and work."
Interactive: The changing shape of New Zealand's population
This interactive shows how New Zealand's population has changed over the last 30 years. The chart's bars show how many people currently living in New Zealand were born each year. Move the slider below the chart to rewind time.
The hollowed generation
Meanwhile, poor Gen X.
Their most famous Kiwi member - albeit a last-gasper 1980 bub - Jacinda Ardern, is certainly on top of the pile.
But the Prime Minister's generation, many of whom reached working age as unemployment peaked above 10 per cent in the early 1990s at the same time then-Finance Minister Ruth Richardson slashed benefits, have likely never found themselves on top of the population pile.
In 1991, the earliest digitised figures for New Zealand's population were available, and when the PM and her fellow youngest Gen Xers were 11, there were 892,000 of them compared to 1.06m Boomers.
It got worse.
The cohort's numbers plunged from the late 90s, falling as low as 871,000 in 2001. At the same time Boomers had grown to 1.1m and Millennials, now all born, had reached 930,000.
And while numbers began recovering a few years later - with another small dip in 2012 - they never caught up with their neighbour generations.
Moral panic about Asian immigration from the early 1990s was partly to blame, with New Zealand First the outcome and, later in the decade, tougher rules around immigration which coincided with an economic downturn in Asia, Spoonley says.
Then around the turn of the century, and in the years after the global financial crisis [GFC], more Kiwis bailed on the return leg of their OE or deliberately made the move abroad permanent, especially across the Ditch where there were more jobs and better incomes, he says.
"The net migration gain to New Zealand between 2007 and 2012 was 38,000 people, over all those years. And during the GFC we had quite significant net outflows.
"In 2012, 53,800 people left to live in Australia alone."
Luke Clark didn't go to Australia. But he also didn't come back to New Zealand.
The 48-year-old Kiwi moved to Singapore to work as a journalist in 1996 and now co-owns a content marketing business. He married, started a family and bought an apartment in the city-state.
"We went missing, didn't we?', says Clark, of his generation.
Some were stung by the end of free tertiary education in 1989 and, as inaugural members of Generation Student Loan, fellow Gen Xers felt New Zealand "hadn't done us a lot of favours", he says.
The mentoring and support so prevalent in the workplace now also didn't exist.
"We were really grateful for a wonderful education and it was a great place to be young but, in terms of being in your 20s at the time, there was still that attitude of you had to start from the bottom and 'no one gave me a leg up'."
Millennials likely found an easier path back to New Zealand perhaps before they became fully settled overseas, with better social and professional digital networks.
"I literally came here at the dawn of the internet."
Life's good in Singapore but, most days, Clark still thinks about coming home. He doesn't have a student loan, but soaring house prices are a factor.
"But I do think you can make these things work when the opportunity arises."
As for work, the Boomers were always the ones in the best jobs in the past, and in many cases still are - but that's just demographics.
He doesn't want to "throw stones across generations", Clark says.
"My parents' generation have been saddled with costs for their kids' universities to costs for their parents living longer, so the Boomers didn't have it that easy either."
'These days that balance is just not there'
Angela Griffen is one of New Zealand's 1.08m Baby Boomers, described by Spoonley as the "healthiest and wealthiest" older generation in history.
She runs her own communications company and, like many of her peers, is in no hurry to retire.
Griffen doesn't want to say her exact age, but Spoonley says a quarter of over-65s in New Zealand are still in paid work.
And the modern lifestyle of older Kiwis went beyond working longer, Griffen says.
"I remember my grandmother. She was an old person in every sense, while I know lots of grandmothers who are nothing like that. Their roles were more clearly defined and it was really … during the Boomer generation the roles became a lot more fluid."
Her generation had its battles - the fight for women's rights among them - but it was an "easier world to live in" when she was a young adult, Griffen says.
"It never crossed your mind that you wouldn't get a job, it never crossed our minds about climate change … when we bought a house at the end of the 80s, it was quite a big mortgage, you know the interest payments, but our salaries were capable of matching that.
"These days that balance is just not there."
Spoonley is expecting more intergenerational tension - a self-described "typical Boomer" who owns two properties, still works, and has Superannuation, investments and disposable income, he's had some "very vigorous discussions" about generational inequality with his own, Millennial, kids.
"I do think there's quite a degree of resentment building between generations."
The 2020 US election was the first where Boomers were outvoted by Millennials and younger generations and while the large Boomer cohort will remain important - they'll have strong views about superannuation.
They'll start to be outvoted by younger generations here too, he says.
That could mean more action on climate change and wealth inequality.
"Boomers have been sitting on huge real estate value which has just kept on growing, so is there going to come a moment when you've got these new generations who are largely excluded from the house buying market saying, 'Wow, you guys aren't prepared to tax property gains and you'll tax practically everything else and yet you're sitting on houses we can't afford'.
"I think there are going to be some really significant political issues because of these different generational experiences."
Griffen says her generation didn't know there'd be a population boom and a resulting surge in house prices.
"It's very hard to say in hindsight [if things should've been done differently], because we just lived in the times."
She doesn't have kids but feels for her Millennial godchildren and relatives, and the challenges they face.
A couple have told her they're "thinking twice about bringing children into this world", because of climate change and population pressures.
"That's really sad."
It's also a bit of a problem.
Stats NZ fertility rates released on Tuesday put New Zealand on the cusp of joining what are called "low, low fertility countries" - those with a fertility rate, the average number of children a woman gives birth to, of 1.5 or fewer, Spoonley says.
The fertility rate in the year to March was 1.6, far below the population replacement level of 2.1, last recorded in 2014.
Griffen's friends are worried about the world, but Millennials' financial pressures - many suffered "labour market scarring" after entering the job market during the GFC's reduced job and salary prospects - were the generation choosing not to have kids, or having "one and done", Spoonley says.
And that's a big problem for the youngest generations - the 8-to-24-year-old Generation Zs (2020 population 1.05m) and the newest generation, the 7-and-unders, originally known as Generation Alpha (500,000) but now also being called Generation C in a nod to the pandemic.
A better name might be Generation Not Enough of You or, as Spoonley describes them, Generation Precious.
When he was a kid the dependency ratio - people working versus those not - was four to one.
The fertility rate means hard discussions, and decisions, lie ahead.
"By the time the Alphas get into the work market, it's going to be one to one ... because our birth rates are going down, there'll be fewer and fewer of them.
"They'll be the people who will sustain our education system and then our labour
markets … so they're going to be quite precious."