BOOMING BUSTERS: Whether they're called Generation X,...

BOOMING BUSTERS: Whether they're called Generation X, twentysomethings or the 13th Generation, young adults born after the baby boom of the 1950s are an emerging presence in Orange County. Generally born during a time of declining birthrate, between 1962 and 1975, Generation Xers made up 28% of the county's population in the 1990 Census. . . . Chapman University sociology professor Karl Reitz points to the high cost of living, attracting fewer retirees. Also, "younger people are probably coming here for high-tech jobs," he adds.

GENERACION EQUIS: Latino twentysomethings have changed the face of the county in the past decade--their numbers doubled from about 90,000 in 1980 to more than 209,000 in 1990. . . . "The new generation is the Latino generation in Santa Ana," says Rueben Martinez, Santa Ana bookseller and barber. They range from assimilated teens who favor grunge rock to recent Mexican immigrants who prefer Banda music. Martinez has seen second- and third-generation Latinos who speak poor Spanish "coming back to learn their culture."

McJOB MARKET: A Generation X stereotype: Young adults take jobs grilling hamburgers, even after earning college degrees. . . . But economists have said hiring may soon be increasing. At UC Irvine, 10% to 15% more corporate recruiters visited campus this spring than last, says Thomas A. Parham, director of the Career Planning and Placement Center. "If you measure how things are now to how they were five years ago, they're still not good," he says. "But compared to 1993 and 1992, it's slightly better."

SURF'S UP: Young Xers are taking to the water these days, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Assn. in Corona del Mar. "Most surfers are between 18 and 23 years old," the association's Michael Kingsbury says. His group will sponsor the fifth annual Waterman's Ball--the social event of the season for young surfers in Orange County--to raise money for ocean conservation. Those with $100 to spare can attend the dinner June 4 at the California Scenario Sculpture Garden near South Coast Plaza.

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