What is a Baby Boomer? We define Baby Boomers as a person born between 1946 and 1964 in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or Australia. In the years following World War II these countries experienced an amazing spike in birth rates, an era commonly called the "baby boom". In the United States alone,
approximately 76 million babies were born between those years.
In 2007 defined Baby Boomer ages range from 43 to 61 with 52 being the median age. The history and demographics of the generation define Baby Boomers and shaped their attitudes and development.
The term is iconic and is properly capitalized as "Baby Boomers".
The terms "baby boomer" and "baby boom" along with others (e.g. "boomies"
or "boomers") are commonly used to refer to this group.
Causes of the Baby Boom
As is often the case after a major war, the prosperous post World War II years defined
a baby boom in Europe, Asia, North America,
and Australasia. In May 1951, Sylvia F. Porter, a columnist in the New York Post,
defined Baby Boomers in referring to the increased births in post war
America. She said "Take the 3,548,000 babies born in 1950. Bundle them into a batch,
bounce them all over the bountiful land that is America. What do you get? Boom.
The biggest, boomiest boom ever known in history."
Prior to the Baby Boom, there was a period of approximately 20 years
in which having children was difficult due to the Great Depression and
World War II. The sudden removal of economic and social pressures that kept
people from starting families defined Baby Boomers. While austerity and restraint
were the norms during the stress of the war years, after the war, couples
reunited and returned to traditional roles. Returning (mostly male) soldiers
re-entered the workforce; many women left wartime work to concentrate on
child-bearing and child-rearing. Marriage became again a cultural and
career norm for most women — and one result was nearly 80 million babies. This birth explosion defined Baby Boomers. Annual births and fertility rates set new records.
1957 was the pinnacle year of the baby boom with 4.3 million births and an amazing annual fertility rate of 122.7 births for each 1,000 women between ages 15 to 44. The years 1956 and 1958 each saw about 4.21 million babies born in the US and fertility rates were 121.0 and 120.5 respectively.
These birth statistics define Baby Boomers and have never been equaled in all of US history! They are far above current rates. To place it in perspective, the National Center for Health Statistics reported slightly over 4 million US births in 2002 and a fertility rate of 64.8, or about half the 1957 fertility rate!
The post war era defined Baby Boomers and society in general. A cultural revolution began to change attitudes and the Boomers were in the forefront of that change. The ensuing years became the Age of the Baby Boomers.