Leading-edge Boomers(1946–54) and
Generation Jones(1955–65). Marriage and pregnancy were delayed during the 16 years that spanned the Great Depression and World War II. After the war, births went up precipitously as the average ages at which people got married and began having children both went down. The baby-boom years were also marked by an expanding economy, increased educational opportunities, and population shifts to the growing suburbs. The baby boom ended in the late 1960s and by the 1970s America's birthrate had declined to 1930s levels.
Baby boomers are the largest generation in U.S. history, and have had a profound effect on many of the country's political, economic, and cultural trends. Many boomers reached young adulthood during the 1960s and contributed to and were affected by the period's antiauthoritarian and alternative hallmarks, such as political and social activism and rock music. Boomers also are united by such factors as television (they were the first generation to grow up with the medium) and consumerism (they have tended to be voracious commercial consumers). Many baby boomers have struggled to achieve the standard of living enjoyed by their parents because the large size of their cohort has tended to diminish economic opportunity, but the generation as a whole is the richest in American history. In the 21st cent. aging baby boomers are expected to present a significant challenge to the U.S. healthcare industry, Medicare, and social security.
See P. C. Light, Baby Boomers (1990), N. A. Hamilton et al., Atlas of the Baby Boom Generation (2000), S. Gillon, Boomer Nation (2004); J. Goldsmith, The Long Baby Boom (2008)
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