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Baby boomer is a North American-English term to describe a person born between 1946 and 1964

Following World War II, these countries experienced an unusual spike in birth rates, a phenomenon commonly known as the baby boom. The term is iconic and more properly capitalized as Baby Boomers. The terms "baby boomer" and "baby boom" along with others (e.g., "boomies" or "boomers") are also used in countries with demographics that did not mirror the sustained growth in American families over the same interval.[2]

[edit] United States

Number of births in the United States, 1934 to present

There is some disagreement as to the exact beginning and end dates of the baby boom, but the range most commonly accepted is as starting in 1946 and ending in 1964. The problem with this definition is that this period may be too long for a cultural generation, even though it covers a time of increased births. If the gross number of births were the indicator, births began to decline from the peak in 1957 (4,300,000), but fluctuated or did not decline by much more than 40,000 (1959-1960) to 60,000 (1962-1963) until a sharp decline from 1964 (4,027,490) to 1965 (3,760,358). This sharp decline resulted from millions of women using birth control pills, which were introduced in 1960 in the U.S., and widely used by 1964. This makes 1964 a good year to mark the end of the baby boom in the U.S.

While 1945-1955 reflect the post-WWII demographic boom in births, there is a growing consensus among generational experts that two distinct cultural generations occupy these years. The conceptualization that has gained the most public acceptance is that of a 1942-1953 Baby Boom Generation, followed by a 1954-1965 Generation Jones. Boomers and Jonesers had dramatically different formative experiences which gave rise to dramatically different collective personalities. Other monikers have been sometimes used to describe the younger cohort, like "Trailing Edge Boomers", "Late Boomers", and "Shadow Boomers", but the moniker "Generation Jones" has achieved far more popularity than any of these other terms, and is the only moniker for this cohort that is commonly used in the media.

In his book Boomer Nation, Steve Gillon states that the baby boom began in 1946 and ends in 1960, but he breaks Baby Boomers into two groups: Boomers, born between 1945 and 1957; and Shadow Boomers born between 1958 and 1964.[8] Further, in Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers, author Brent Green defines Leading-Edge Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1955. This group is a self-defining generational cohort or unit because its members all reached their late teen years during the height of the Vietnam War era, the defining historical event of this coming-of-age period. Green describes the second half of the demographic baby boom, born from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s as either Trailing-Edge Boomers or Generation Jones. [9] In some cases the term Shadow Boomer is incorrectly applied to the children of the Baby Boomers; this group is more accurately referred to as Echo Boomers..

It can be argued that the defining event of early Baby Boomers was the Vietnam War and the protest over the draft, which ended in 1973. Since anyone born after 1955 was not subject to the draft, this argues for the ten years including 1946 to 1955 as defining the baby boomers. This would fit the thirtysomething demographic covered by the TV show of the same name which aired from 1987-1991. The cultural disaffinities of those born after 1955 (thereby missing the draft and being too young to be part of the 1960s) could be captured by the Gen X of Douglas Coupland in his book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. The term "X" has itself been transformed to cover a later cohort.

In the United States, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling is generally recognized as the nation's first baby boomer. She was born in Philadelphia on January 1, 1946, at 12:00:01 a.m. Casey-Kirschling applied for Social Security benefits on 15 October 2007, signaling the start of an expected avalanche of applications from the post World War II war generation. Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a former teacher from New Jersey, applied for benefits over the Internet at an event attended by Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue.

This short section requires expansion.

In the United Kingdom, the pattern of birth rates were more likely to decrease within 6 months. There was a sharp post-World War II peak in 1947, when more babies were born than in any year since the post-World War I peak in 1920. There was then a decline, followed by a broader but lower peak in the 1960s. Thus British Baby Boomers are younger than their American counterparts and had not risen to such prominence when the term was coined. The two peaks can clearly be seen in the age structure of England and Wales.

Soviet Union

In the Soviet Union, members of the upswing in births born after World War II are called the Sputnik Generation after the Soviet-satellite launched in 1957. There was also competition on birth rate after the war. This was one of the many aspects of the Cold War.


Size and economic impact

There is much debate that the 76 million American children born between 1945 and 1964 represent a cohort that is significant on account of its size. As of 2008, the term baby boomer is generally applied to anyone between the ages of 44 and 63. Boomers comprise nearly 28% of the adult US population. In 2004, the UK baby boomers held 80% of the UK's wealth and bought 80% of all top of the range cars, 80% of cruises and 50% of skincare products.

In addition to the size of the group, Steve Gillon has suggested that one thing that sets the baby boomers apart from other generational groups is the fact that "almost from the time they were conceived, Boomers were dissected, analyzed, and pitched to by modern marketers, who reinforced a sense of generational distinctiveness." This is supported by the articles of the late 1940s identifying the increasing number of babies as an economic boom, such as in the Newsweek article of August 9, 1948, "Population: Babies Mean Business", or Time article of February 9, 1948. The effect of the baby boom continued to be analyzed and exploited throughout the 1950s and 60s.

Boomers have often found difficulty managing their time and money due to an issue that other generations have not had a problem with. Because the Baby Boomer's generation has found that their parents are living longer, their children are seeking a better and longer college education, and they themselves are having children later in life, the boomers have become "sandwiched" between generations. The "sandwich generation", coined in the 1980s, refers to baby boomers who must care for both elderly parents and young children at the same time.

Cultural identity

The baby boomers were the first group to be raised with televisions in the home, and television has been identified as "the institution that solidified the sense of generational identity more than any other." Starting in the 1950s, people in diverse geographic locations could watch the same shows, listen to the same news, and laugh at the same jokes. Television shows such as Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver showed idealized family settings. Later, the boomers watched scenes from the Vietnam War and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.

The boomers found that their music, most notably rock and roll, was another expression of their generational identity. Transistor radios were personal devices that allowed teenagers to listen to The Beatles and The Motown Sound.

In 1993, Time magazine reported on the religious affiliations of baby boomers. Citing Wade Clark Roof, a sociologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the articles stated that about 42% of baby boomers were dropouts from formal religion, a third had never strayed from church, and one-fourth of boomers were returning to religious practice. The boomers returning to religion were "usually less tied to tradition and less dependable as church members than the loyalists. They are also more liberal, which deepens rifts over issues like abortion and homosexuality."

It is jokingly said that, whatever year they were born, boomers were coming of age at the same time across the world; so that Britain was undergoing Beatlemania (which in fact occurred before the peak of the British baby boom in 1966) while people in the United States were driving over to Woodstock, organizing against the Vietnam War, or fighting and dying in the same war; boomers in Italy were dressing in mod clothes and "buying the world a Coke"; boomers in India were seeking new philosophical discoveries; American boomers in Canada had just found a new home after escaping the draft south of the border; Canadian Boomers were organizing support for Pierre Trudeau;. It is precisely these experiences why many believe that trailing boomers (those born in the 1960s) belong to another cohort, as events that defined their coming of age have nothing in common with leading or core boomers (which Daniel Yankelovich and other demographers made perfectly clear).

In the 1985 study of US generational cohorts by Schuman and Scott, a broad sample of adults was asked, "What world events over the past 50 years were especially important to them?"[18] For the baby boomers the results were:

* Baby Boomer cohort #1 (born from 1946 to 1954)
o Memorable events: assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, political unrest, walk on the moon, Vietnam War, anti-war protests, social experimentation, sexual freedom, civil rights movement, environmental movement, women's movement, protests and riots, experimentation with various intoxicating recreational substances
o Key characteristics: experimental, individualism, free spirited, social cause oriented
* Baby Boomer cohort #2 (born from 1955 to 1964)
o Memorable events: Watergate, Nixon resigns, the Cold War, the oil embargo, raging inflation, gasoline shortages
o Key characteristics: less optimistic, distrust of government, general cynicism

Health and retirement

At some point, Baby Boomers will have a large impact on the health care industry (Funerals/Hospice/Cemeteries), but as a generation, they have tended to avoid discussions and planning for their demise and avoided much long term planning.[19]

Baby Boomers often experience high anxiety about aging and death, and live in denial of these realities of life. Many do not believe these events have to be a reality of life.

Journalist Jeff Chang wrote in his book Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, "Boomers seem to have had great difficulty imagining what could come after themselves."

One book, written by Colorado doctor Terry Grossman, titled "The Baby Boomers' Guide to Living Forever," proposes how Baby Boomers might avoid death. On page 3 of the book, Grossman writes, unironically, "As an official member of the Baby Boomer Generation, I really and truly do not believe that it was intended for us to die. Death, if and when it occurs, clearly will represent a mistake of some kind."

The humor publication The Onion published a satirical article celebrating the anticipated large-scale deaths of Baby Boomers in the upcoming years, quoting one fictional expert as saying the Boomers are "the most odious generation America has ever produced."

Negligence of future generations by the Baby Boomer Generation

A growing opinion among members of Generation Y (those born between 1975 and 1990) is that the Baby Boomer group neglected their future. As stated above, Baby Boomers had a tendency of not seeing reality for what it is and ignoring the needs of later generations. Baby Boomers are infamous for their excessive spending on infrastructures benefitting only their age group rather than investing in future generations. Baby Boomers defend their point of view by saying that they worked hard all their life and tried to give their children (Generation Y) a better life. They did on a short term basis but not in the long run. When Baby Boomers eventually retire, they will empty pension funds and budget surplusses. The fact that they represent a very large demographic group will hinder the mere chance of Gen Y having a comfortable life. Generation Y will have to carry the burden of growing income taxes and interest rates since there is not enough money invested in pension funds to cover the cost of Baby Bommers' retirements and eventual health care costs. In a sense, one can say that the Baby Boomers will "hog" large amounts of wealth rather than having invested it where it was needed the most.

Impact on history and culture

One of the contributions made by the Boomer generation appears to be the expansion of individual freedom. Boomers often are associated with the civil rights movement, the feminist cause in the 1970s, gay rights, handicapped rights, and the right to privacy.

Baby boomers presently make up the lion's share of the political, cultural, industrial, and academic leadership class in the United States. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, born within sixty days of each other in mid-1946, are the first and second Baby Boomer U.S. presidents, and their careers in office illustrate the wide, often diverging, spectrum of values and attitudes espoused by this largest American generational group to date. To date, baby boomers also have the highest median household incomes in the United States.

Political leaders

This short section requires expansion.

The boom generation has included, as of 2007, two Presidents of the United States:

* Bill Clinton, born 1946, 1993-2001
* George W. Bush, born 1946, 2001-incumbent

Other influential American politicians born during the post-war boom include:

* Hillary Clinton, New York senator and former First Lady, b. 1947
* Dan Quayle, former Vice President, b. 1947
* Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, b. 1947
* Al Gore, former Vice President, b. 1948
* Karl Rove, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff, b. 1950
* Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Justice, b. 1950
* John Edwards, former North Carolina senator, b. 1953
* Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, b. 1954
* M. Michael Rounds, governor of South Dakota, b. 1954
* Alberto Gonzalez, former Attorney General, b. 1955
* John Roberts, Chief Justice, U. S, Supreme Court, b. 1955
* Barack Obama, Illinois United States Senator, b. 1961

It is estimated that the boom generation will hold a plurality in Congress until 2015, the White House until 2021, and will have a majority in the Supreme Court from 2010 to 2030.

Non-U.S. age-peers of the Boomers include:

* Charles, Prince of Wales, b. 1948
* Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom b. 1951
* Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, b. 1952
* Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom b. 1953
* Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, b. 1955
* Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistan Prime Minister, b. 1953 d. 2007
* Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, b. 1956
* Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabian-born militant , b. 1957
* Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, b. 1959
* Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, b. 1954
* Abdullah Gul, President of Turkey, b. 1950

In light of the generation gap and the poor state of the environment, Social Security, etc., Andrew Smith, in his novel Moondust, said that Baby Boomers have the unique distinction of "pissing off" both their parents' and their children's generations.

Famous people
This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2007)
Please improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed.

The Boom Generation has had many influential icons including:


* Tim Allen, actor, comedian, b. 1953
* Roseanne Barr, Actor, comedienne, b. 1952
* Kathy Bates, actor, b. 1948
* Lynda Carter, actor, b. 1951
* Madonna, Entertainer, b. 1958
* George Clooney, actor, b. 1961
* Tom Cruise, actor b. 1962
* Michael J. Fox, actor b. 1961
* Whoopi Goldberg, actor, comedienne b. 1955
* Jay Leno, comedian, current host of The Tonight Show, b. 1950
* David Letterman, comedian, current host of The Late Show, b. 1947
* Conan O'Brien, comedian, current host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, b. 1963
* Christopher Reeve, actor, philanthropist, b. 1952
* Jerry Seinfeld, comedian b. 1954
* Sylvester Stallone, actor, b. 1946
* Howard Stern, satellite radio disc jockey, b. 1954
* Patrick Swayze, Actor b. 1952
* John Travolta, actor, b. 1954
* Twiggy, model (September 19, 1949)
* Denzel Washington, actor, b. 1954
* Sigourney Weaver, actor, b. 1949
* Bruce Willis, actor, b. 1955
* Oprah Winfrey, Talk show host b. 1954
* Sunik


* Steven Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, b. March 24, 1956
* Richard Branson, Entrepreneur (born July 18, 1950)
* Bruce Coppin, Landscaper (born April 28, 1962)


* David Bowie, singer/songwriter, b. 1947
* Michael Jackson, popular music icon, b. 1958
* Billy Joel, singer, b. 1949
* Elton John, singer/songwriter/musician, b. 1947
* Jon Bon Jovi, musician, b. 1962
* Donovan Leitch, singer/songwriter, b. 1946
* Madonna, popular musician, b. August 16, 1958
* Cher, singer/actress, b. 1946
* Stevie Nicks, musician (born May 26, 1948)
* Ozzy Osbourne, musician, b. 1948
* Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, b. January 19, 1946
* Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, b. 1948
* Prince, popular musician, b. 1958
* Linda Ronstadt, musician, b July 15, 1946
* David Lee Roth, musician, b. 1954
* Steven Tyler, musician, b. 1948


* Ronald Colle, radiochemist, b. February 18, 1946
* Bill Gates, entrepreneur, IT, b. October 28, 1955
* Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc. co founder, b. February 24, 1955
* Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, PARC researcher b. 1955
* Steve Wozniak, Apple co founder, (born August 11, 1950)


* Magic Johnson, basketball player, b. 1959
* George Best, association football player b. 1946

Cultural contributions

Their cultural endowments have included the following:


* Steven Spielberg, director, b. 1946
o Jaws, 1975
o Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977
o Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
o E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
o Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984
o Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989
o Jurassic Park, 1993
o Schindler's List, 1993
o Saving Private Ryan, 1998
o Artificial Intelligence: AI, 2001
o Minority Report, 2002
o War of the Worlds, 2005

* Sylvester Stallone, actor, b. 1946
o Rocky, 1976, and five sequels
o Rambo franchise, 1982

* Robin Williams, actor, b. 1951
o Popeye, 1980
o The World According to Garp, 1982
o Dead Poets Society, 1989
o Hook, 1991
o Aladdin, 1992
o Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993
o Jumanji, 1995
o Good Will Hunting, 1997
o Patch Adams, 1998
o Robots, 2005
o Happy Feet, 2006
o RV, 2006

* Tom Hanks, actor, b. 1956
o Big, 1988
o A League of Their Own, 1992
o Philadelphia, 1993
o Forrest Gump, 1994
o Apollo 13, 1995
o Toy Story, 1995
o Saving Private Ryan, 1998
o Cast Away, 2000
o The Terminal, 2004
o The Da Vinci Code, 2006

* Spike Lee, director, b. 1957
o Do the Right Thing, 1989
o Malcolm X, 1992
o He Got Game, 1998
o Bamboozled, 2000
o Inside Man, 2006


* David Bowie, singer/songwriter, b. 1947
o David Bowie, 1967
o Space Oddity, 1969
o Hunky Dory, 1971
o The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972
o Station to Station, 1976
o Let's Dance, 1983

* Carlos Santana, guitarist, songwriter, b. 1947
o Santana, 1969
o Abraxas, 1970
o Santana III, 1971
o Moonflower, 1977
o Zebop!, 1981
o Supernatural, 1999
o Shaman, 2002

* Bruce Springsteen, singer/songwriter, b. 1949
o The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, 1973
o Born to Run, 1975
o The River, 1980
o Born in the USA, 1984
o Live/1975-85, 1986
o Tunnel of Love, 1987
o Human Touch, 1992
o Lucky Town, 1992

* Ozzy Osborne, singer, b. 1948
o Blizzard of Ozz, 1980
o Diary of a Madman, 1981
o Bark at the Moon, 1983
o The Ultimate Sin, 1986
o No Rest for the Wicked, 1988
o No More Tears, 1991
o Ozzmosis, 1995
o Black Rain, 2007

* Michael Jackson, singer, b. 1958
o Off the Wall, 1979
o Thriller, 1982
o Bad, 1987
o Dangerous, 1991
o HIStory - Past, Present And Future, Book I, 1995
o Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, 1997
o Invincible, 2001

* Madonna, singer, b. 1958
o Madonna, 1983
o Like a Virgin, 1984
o True Blue, 1986
o Like a Prayer, 1989
o Erotica, 1992
o Bedtime Stories, 1994
o Ray of Light, 1998
o Music, 2000
o American Life, 2003
o Confessions on a Dance Floor, 2005

* Aerosmith, music group, members b. 1948-52
o Aerosmith, 1973
o Get Your Wings, 1974
o Toys in the Attic, 1975
o Rocks, 1976
o Draw the Line, 1977
o Night in the Ruts, 1979
o Permanent Vacation, 1987
o Pump, 1989
o Get a Grip, 1993
o Nine Lives, 1997
o Just Push Play, 2001

* Van Halen, music group, members b. 1947-55
o Van Halen, 1978
o Van Halen II, 1979
o Women and Children First, 1980
o Fair Warning, 1981
o Diver Down, 1982
o 1984, 1984
o 5150, 1986
o OU812, 1988
o For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, 1991
o Balance, 1995

* Bon Jovi, music group, members b. 1953-62
o Bon Jovi, 1984
o 7800 Fahrenheit, 1985
o Slippery When Wet, 1986
o New Jersey, 1988
o Keep the Faith, 1992
o These Days, 1995
o Crush, 2000
o Have a Nice Day, 2005
o Lost Highway, 2007

* Doonesbury (cartoonist, Garry Trudeau b. 1948)
* Forrest Gump (film, Robert Zemeckis b. 1952)
* Cathy (cartoonist, Cathy Guisewite b. 1950)
* Saturday Night Live (television show)
* Thirtysomething (television series)
* Vietnam Veterans' Memorial (Maya Lin b. 1959)
* The Wonder Years (television series)

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