baby boom

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baby boom,

a period in which the birthrate is significantly higher than in other periods, especially the post–World War II period in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In the United States, the postwar baby boom was the largest demographic spike in the nation's history; more than 78 million Americans were born. Experts differ about the span of the U.S. baby boom, which the Census Bureau defines as 1946 to 1964; the number of births peaked in 1957. Some break the period into two sections: "Leading-edge Boomers" (1946–54) and "Generation Jones" (1955–65). Marriage and pregnancy were delayed during the 16 years that spanned the Great DepressionGreat Depression,
in U.S. history, the severe economic crisis generally considered to have been precipitated by the U.S. stock-market crash of 1929. Although it shared the basic characteristics of other such crises (see depression), the Great Depression was unprecedented in its
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 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, MedicareMedicare,
national health insurance program in the United States for persons aged 65 and over and the disabled. It was established in 1965 with passage of the Social Security Amendments and is now run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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, and social securitysocial security,
government program designed to provide for the basic economic security and welfare of individuals and their dependents. The programs classified under the term social security differ from one country to another, but all are the result of government legislation
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.

Bibliography

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)

References in periodicals archive ?
There is a class of people, less visible in media and marketing campaigns than the aging baby-boom cohort, that has never bought into the myth of individual isolated effort, although this class touts it loudly to the rest of us.
The baby-boom generation encompasses over 75 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964--those now between 28 and 46 years of age.
What is clear," comments Bloom, "is that in order to serve the needs of the baby-boom generation, who are currently beginning to help their parents make long-term care choices, we need to be more serious about providing preventive interventions and developing better and more cost-effective ways of supporting people and informal care-giving in the community.
The main point of the book is that the retirement of baby-boom women will not replicate the experience of their mothers or male counterparts.
Baby-boom women have narrowed the existing gaps between males and females in educational attainment and job earnings.
Baby-boom bashing often manifested itself as snide, culturally superior commentary on the inaugural festivities.
Since much of baby-boom culture is, in fact, kitsch run amok, mockery comes easily.
The challenges that Alzheimer's disease poses for health care systems as the baby-boom generation ages have been identified in expert reports and testimony before Congress.
The retail market for toys has enjoyed many years of steady growth as the baby-boom generation progressed through their childbearing years.
Anticipated trends in demographic-related utilization are beginning to materialize as providers have begun to experience significant increases in utilization among the baby-boom generation.
The baby-boom generation, those born from 1946-to-1964, is now the prime market for collectibles.
Of special note is the budget horizon which ends in 2002, well before the impending explosion of Medicare and Social Security spending when the baby-boom generation begins to retire.