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What is a Baby Boomer?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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In Australia, Canada, the USA, and the UK, returning soldiers from World War II sparked an increase in birth rates. This increase was so large, that many names have been coined to account for the high rate of births. Even in Russia, the increase launched a name called the Sputnik Generation. In Western Europe, Australia, and North America, the name baby boomer applies to the group of children born between 1946 and 1964.

Actually there’s some debate on the specific dates. People born a year or two before the war ended may still be considered baby boomers. Further, the 18-year spread above is enough to encompass two generations. A baby boomer born in 1946 would be 18 in 1964 and could theoretically have a child also considered a baby boomer. Some people suggest shortening the end time period to 1963, or prior to the 1960s.

Baby boomers have been interesting from a demographic standpoint. They have enjoyed, for the most part, longer life spans than their parents, and made up the Yuppie generation. Boomers born in the 50s were in their thirties during the conspicuous consumer decade of the 1980s. Some baby boomers were instrumental in protesting the Viet Nam war and constitute the hippie generation. Others represent the more conservative views of the war.

Baby boomers have also been called the sandwich generation. They may have simultaneously cared for aging parents and young children at the same time. Primarily they’ve been considered as an interesting demographic. A full 76 million US citizens can call themselves boomers, and people have long understood that this generation will represent a majority of voters in the US in 2015.

From a cultural standpoint, the baby boomer is identified with several important cultural and historical moments or movements:

  • First man on the moon
  • Birth of Rock and Roll
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Women’s Rights Movement
  • Protest of the Vietnam War

However the younger group of baby boomers, those born in the mid 1960s, would have been too young to participate in or remember most of these things. Memorable shared experiences of the older baby Boomers include the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert and the death of Marin Luther King Jr. Younger baby boomers also mark the scandal of Watergate, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.

While the early baby boomer is often characterized as optimistic and hopeful of change via political channels and participation, the younger group born in the late 50s or early 60s is characterized by political cynicism and rejection of the establishment. Of course, in each group, there are a spectrum of political beliefs, points of view and degrees of pessimism or optimism. Much depends upon the individual baby boomer. Clearly, though, this generation of children will continue to have an impact on politics and daily life in the countries where the baby boom existed.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon216640 — On Sep 22, 2011

I had always heard the Baby Boomers to be the kids born between 1946-1964. I always thought I was in Gen X, but saw according to this site, I am a Y, since I was born in 1979.

By anon177653 — On May 18, 2011

Nope, nope, nope. People born after 1960 but before 1965, for the most part, do not identify with baby boomers. We're known as Generation Jones and have much more in common with each other than with either baby boomers or Generation X.

By wecallherana — On Oct 02, 2010

@doppler - At this point, the average baby boomer's age is around 50 - 60 years old. Isn't that crazy? About 10 years ago there was some issues with baby boomers and the workforce because the new generation of people (I think it was Generation X or what is sometimes called the "Millennials") didn't have the same work ethics as baby boomers. It's difficult, but now the Millennials are the Boomers' boss. Crazy, huh?

By wecallherana — On Oct 02, 2010

@doppler - I see. I was a little misled since the article didn't state the exact end dates of World War II - it doesn't need to, though, because it's more about the baby boomer generation than the war so I see the point. Thank you for clarifying all of that for me, though, it was very helpful and concise.

By doppler — On Oct 02, 2010

@wecallherana - This is actually already considered in the article. The official last date of occupation dealing with the war was in 1955. So one would most likely consider the baby boomer statistics to end in about 1956 or 1957. While it may all seem very technical, you will most like hear people who were born throughout the sixties call themselves a part of the baby boomers generation simply because they can.

By wecallherana — On Oct 02, 2010

Theoretically, we should consider the baby boomer generation to be that of people who were born a year or two AFTER the war. If you think about it, men coming home to their wives could have gotten them pregnant after the war was over and that would have put another addition in the baby boomer demographics.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia...
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