Baby Boomers: Wikis


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Baby Boom Generation is a term which portrays the cohorts born during the middle part of the 20th Century. The birth years of the Baby Boom Generation are the subject of controversy. Historically, everyone born during the post-World War II demographic boom in births was called part of the Baby Boom Generation.[1][2] This article deals with the Baby Boom Generation from a cultural perspective, while a separate article deals with the "Post-World War II baby boom".

In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[3] As a group, they were the healthiest, and wealthiest generation to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.[4]

One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[5] This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations.

The baby boom has been described variously as a "shockwave"[3] and as "the pig in the python."[4] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as they passed through it.

Contents

Characteristics

The baby boomer generation is seen here as the widest bulge.

Size and economic impact

This cohort shares characteristics like higher rates of participation in higher education than previous generations and an assumption of lifelong prosperity and entitlement developed during their childhood in the 1950s.

The spending wave theory suggests that an economic slowdown would occur due to the start of Baby Boomer retirement during the late 2000s.[6]

Cultural identity

Boomers grew up at a time of dramatic social change. In the United States, that social change marked the generation with a strong cultural cleavage, between the proponents of social change and the more conservative. Some analysts believe this cleavage has played out politically since the time of the Vietnam War, to some extent defining the political landscape and division in the country.[7][8]

In 1993, Time magazine reported on the religious affiliations of baby boomers, stating 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."[9]

Boomers across the world are said to have come of age at about the same time. Thus, Britain was undergoing Beatlemania while people in the United States were celebrating at 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"; American boomers in Canada had just found a new home and escaped the draft; Canadian Boomers were organizing support for Pierre Trudeau. It is precisely because of these experiences that many believe those born in the second half of the birth boom belong to another generation, as events that defined their coming of age have little in common with leading or core boomers.

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 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?"[10] For the Baby Boom Generation (this particular study used the years 1946–1955 for this Boomer cohort, although the exact birth years are currently controversial[citation needed]), the results were:

Aging and end-of-life issues

As of 1997, it was reported that, as a generation, Boomers had tended to avoid discussions and planning for their demise, and avoided much long-term planning.[11] However, beginning at least as early as that year, there has been a growing dialogue on how to manage aging and end-of-life issues as the generation ages.[12] In particular, a number of commentators have argued that Baby Boomers are in a state of denial regarding their own aging and death, and are leaving an undue economic burden on their children for their retirement and care.[13][14][15] Research on memory loss has indicated that the Baby Boom Generation has been confronted with increasing loss of memory due to the agitated life they lead, which requires that attention is put on many different things at a time. Since older generations were not faced with this rapid lifestyle, and newer generations have lived with this society all their lives, it is said that the Baby Boom Generation was the most damaged one in terms of memory loss due to age. [16]

Impact on history and culture

An indication of the importance put on the impact of the Boomer Generation was the selection by Time magazine of the Baby Boom Generation as its 1966 "Man of the Year." As Claire Raines points out in ‘Beyond Generation X’, “never before in history had youth been so idealized as they were at this moment.” When Generation X came along it had much to live up to and to some degree has always lived in the shadow of the Boomers, more often criticized (‘slackers’, ‘whiners’ and ‘the doom generation’) than not.[17]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.newsweek.com/id/107583
  2. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm
  3. ^ a b Owram, Doug (1997), Born at the Right Time, South Africa: Univ Of Toronto Press, p. x, ISBN 0802080863, http://books.google.ca/books?id=pKdw6Y7_lksC&lpg=PP1&ots=rnUjdKfGSI&dq=Owram%2C%20Doug%20%20Born%20at%20the%20Right%20Time&pg=PR10#v=onepage&q=&f=false 
  4. ^ a b Jones, Landon (1980), Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan 
  5. ^ Owram, Doug (1997), Born at the Right Time, Toronto: Univ Of Toronto Press, p. xi, ISBN 0802080863, http://books.google.ca/books?id=pKdw6Y7_lksC&lpg=PP1&ots=rnUjdKfGSI&dq=Owram%2C%20Doug%20%20Born%20at%20the%20Right%20Time&pg=PR11#v=onepage&q=&f=false 
  6. ^ Economy faces bigger bust without Boomers, Reuters, Jan 31, 2008
  7. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama Goodbye to all of that
  8. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/weekinreview/21broder.html
  9. ^ Ostling, Richard N., "The Church Search", 5 April 1993 Time article retrieved 2007-01-27
  10. ^ Schuman, H.; Scott, J. (1989), "Generations and collective memories", American Sociological Review 54, (3): 359–81, doi:10.2307/2095611, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095611, retrieved 2009-05-24 
  11. ^ Baby Boomers lag in preparing funerals, estates, et al. The Business Journal of Milwaukee - December 18, 1998 by Robert Mullins retrieved 2007-06-18
  12. ^ Article in the New York Times, March 30, 1998
  13. ^ Article from the Associated Press, March 5, 2004
  14. ^ Article in the San Diego Union-Tribune
  15. ^ Article by Robert Samuelson
  16. ^ Schacter, Daniel. (2003). The Seven Sins of Memory. ISBN 84-344-1240-3
  17. ^ 1997, Beyond generation X, Crisp Publications, USA.

External links


Baby Boom Generation is a term that portrays the cohorts born during the middle part of the 20th Century. The birth years of the Baby Boom Generation are the subject of controversy. Historically, everyone born during the post-World War II demographic boom in births was called part of the Baby Boom Generation.[1][2] This article deals with the Baby Boom Generation from a cultural perspective, while a separate article deals with the "Post-World War II baby boom".

In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[3] As a group, they were the healthiest, and wealthiest generation to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.[4]

One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[5] This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations.
File:U.S.BirthRate.1909.
United States birth rate (births per 1000 population).[6] The United States Census Bureau defines the demographic birth boom as between 1946 and 1964[7] (blue).

The baby boom has been described variously as a "shockwave"[3] and as "the pig in the python."[4] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as they passed through it.

Contents

Characteristics

[[File:|thumb|300px|The baby boomer generation is seen here as the widest bulge.]]

Size and economic impact

This cohort shares characteristics like higher rates of participation in higher education than previous generations and an assumption of lifelong prosperity and entitlement developed during their childhood in the 1950s.[8]

The spending wave theory suggests that an economic slowdown would occur due to the start of Baby Boomer retirement during the late 2000s.[9]

Cultural identity

Boomers grew up at a time of dramatic social change. In the United States, that social change marked the generation with a strong cultural cleavage, between the proponents of social change and the more conservative. Some analysts believe this cleavage has played out politically since the time of the Vietnam War, to some extent defining the political landscape and division in the country.[10][11]

In 1993, Time magazine reported on the religious affiliations of baby boomers, stating 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."[12]

Boomers across the world are said to have come of age at about the same time. Thus, Britain was undergoing Beatlemania while people in the United States were celebrating at 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"; American boomers in Canada had just found a new home and escaped the draft; Canadian Boomers were organizing support for Pierre Trudeau. It is precisely because of these experiences that many believe those born in the second half of the birth boom belong to another generation, as events that defined their coming of age have little in common with leading or core boomers.

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 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?"[13] For the Baby Boom Generation (this particular study used the years 1946–1955 for this Boomer cohort, although the exact birth years are currently controversial[citation needed]), the results were:

Aging and end-of-life issues

As of 1998, it was reported that, as a generation, Boomers had tended to avoid discussions and planning for their demise, and avoided much long-term planning.[14] However, beginning at least as early as that year, there has been a growing dialogue on how to manage aging and end-of-life issues as the generation ages.[15] In particular, a number of commentators have argued that Baby Boomers are in a state of denial regarding their own aging and death, and are leaving an undue economic burden on their children for their retirement and care.[16][17][18] Research on memory loss has indicated that the Baby Boom Generation has been confronted with increasing loss of memory due to the agitated life they lead, which requires that attention is put on many different things at a time. Since older generations were not faced with this rapid lifestyle, and newer generations have lived with this society all their lives, it is said that the Baby Boom Generation was the most damaged one in terms of memory loss due to age. [19]

Impact on history and culture

An indication of the importance put on the impact of the Boomer Generation was the selection by Time magazine of the Baby Boom Generation as its 1966 "Man of the Year." As Claire Raines points out in Beyond Generation X, “never before in history had youth been so idealized as they were at this moment.” When Generation X came along it had much to live up to and to some degree has always lived in the shadow of the Boomers, more often criticized (‘slackers’, ‘whiners’ and ‘the doom generation’) than not.[20]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.newsweek.com/id/107583
  2. ^ USA Today, 2009-01-26, http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm 
  3. ^ a b Owram, Doug (1997), Born at the Right Time, South Africa: Univ Of Toronto Press, p. x, ISBN 0802080863, http://books.google.com/?id=pKdw6Y7_lksC&lpg=PP1&dq=Owram%2C%20Doug%20%20Born%20at%20the%20Right%20Time&pg=PR10#v=onepage&q= 
  4. ^ a b Jones, Landon (1980), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation], New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan 
  5. ^ Owram, Doug (1997), Born at the Right Time, Toronto: Univ Of Toronto Press, p. xi, ISBN 0802080863, http://books.google.com/?id=pKdw6Y7_lksC&lpg=PP1&dq=Owram%2C%20Doug%20%20Born%20at%20the%20Right%20Time&pg=PR11#v=onepage&q= 
  6. ^ CDC Bottom of this page http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/vsus.htm "Vital Statistics of the United States, 2003, Volume I, Natality", Table 1-1 "Live births, birth rates, and fertility rates, by race: United States, 1909-2003."
  7. ^ U.S. Census Bureau — Oldest Boomers Turn 60 (2006)
  8. ^ Zeitz, Joshua (October 2005). "Boomer Century" American Heritage.
  9. ^ Economy faces bigger bust without Boomers, Reuters, Jan 31, 2008
  10. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama Goodbye to all of that
  11. ^ Broder, John M. (2007-01-21), "Shushing the Baby Boomers", The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/weekinreview/21broder.html, retrieved 2010-04-26 
  12. ^ Ostling, Richard N., "The Church Search", 5 April 1993 Time article retrieved 2007-01-27
  13. ^ Schuman, H.; Scott, J. (1989), "Generations and collective memories", American Sociological Review (American Sociological Association) 54, (3): 359–81, doi:10.2307/2095611, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095611, retrieved 2009-05-24 
  14. ^ Baby Boomers lag in preparing funerals, estates, et al. The Business Journal of Milwaukee - December 18, 1998 by Robert Mullins retrieved 2007-06-18
  15. ^ Article in the New York Times, March 30, 1998
  16. ^ Article from the Associated Press, March 5, 2004
  17. ^ Article in the San Diego Union-Tribune
  18. ^ Article by Robert Samuelson
  19. ^ Schacter, Daniel. (2003). The Seven Sins of Memory. ISBN 84-344-1240-3
  20. ^ 1997, Beyond generation X, Crisp Publications, USA.

External links








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