The first generation born following the end of World War II was known as the Baby Boom Generation (born 1946 to 1964). They were once the largest generation in human history due to a population boom that occurred during a time of prosperity in Western countries, and they are also known as Baby Boomers. According to the Pew Research Center, their parents belonged to the Greatest Generation (born 1901–1927) and the Silent Generation (born 1928–1945).
The Baby Boomer generation is the one that preceded Generation X and followed the Silent Generation. When they were young adults, they gained notoriety for opposing the Vietnam War and advancing the Civil Rights Movement, which helped people of color get the right to vote in the US and many other countries. Women’s rights were also promoted by the baby boomers as they joined the workforce in unprecedented numbers. The richest generation in human history is currently comprised of them.
They were raised in the earliest suburbs, including Levittown, New York, as suburbanization of urban areas began in earnest. In order to live out the American Dream, Baby Boomers crowded into homes with small yards and white picket fences. They learned early on the importance of working hard, amassing wealth, and purchasing one’s own home.
Generation Jones are the younger half of Baby Boomers born between 1954 and 1964 just before Generation X. The 1950’s began a period of fierce competition between neighbors which led to the expression “keeping up with the Joneses”. Generation Jones were the children who grew up at the start of this social phenomena that was marked by materialism of buying a nicer house or car than your neighbor.
The Boomer Generation is so large, spanning over 18 years, that older Boomers had different influences than younger Boomers. The eldest Boomers were the hippies that burned their underwear at Woodstock to the music of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix. These Boomers were also those who participated the most in the Civil Rights movement, protested the military draft and attended the first Earth Day as college students. Elder Boomers grew up with fathers from the Greatest Generation who were World War II veterans. The Younger Boomers of Generation Jones grew up with parents of the younger Silent Generation with veteran fathers that served in the Vietnam War which was fiercely protested by Boomers.
Members of Generation Jones were still youngsters and adolescents, making them too young to attend Woodstock. They experienced the Watergate Scandal under the presidency of Richard Nixon as well as the effects of stagflation on the economy. They were too young to remember the Civil Rights Movement’s foundational assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that television started to become widely available in the United States in the middle of the 1950s, just as Generation Jones was being born, is another significant distinction between older and younger Boomers. Therefore, during the Golden Age of television, Generation Jones was the first generation to spend their entire life living in a home with a television. Up to the development of the internet, television was the single-largest effect on Western society. In a similar manner that Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up exclusively online, Generation Jones was more influenced by the internet than Millennials or Generation X because they grew up with it.
The Meaning of Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers grew up during a time of rising economic prosperity after World War II which led to a population spurt called the Baby Boom. Teachers and parents were overwhelmed by the sudden rise of children as students spilled out of small classrooms. They became known as the Boomers, a fitting name for the largest generation by population in human history until the birth of their children, the Millennial generation. Many Boomers attended the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 as college students.
Baby Boomer Years
People born between 1946 and 1964 make up the Baby Boomer generation who are the first postwar generation born after World War 2.
Baby Boomer Age
As of 2023, Baby Boomers were between 57 and 75 years old.
Baby Boomers Characteristics
Baby Boomers are known for their incredible work ethic, often working longer hours than any other generation. Their identity is tied to making themselves useful through achievements and by being a good provider to their families. The Boomer Generation is know for being outspoken with big personalities that were forged in crowded houses filled with too many siblings. To get any attention, Boomers learned to be outgoing and competitive, often preferring to be in leadership roles. Having a perfectionist streak, Boomers prefer to be the ones who are setting the standards and instructing others on how to meet these standards.
Traits of the Baby Boomers include:
- Hard Working
- Goal Orientated
- High Earners
During their youth, many Boomers were loud and proud, known for rebelling against the stiff traditions of the Silent Generation and the military-based Greatest Generation. As Baby Boomers enter their elder years, many are having an identity crisis as they are retiring from the jobs that have been a major source of their identity. They have more time on their hands which for many a Boomer feels uncomfortable. However, there are growing opportunities for a retired Boomer to serve as a mentor to the younger generations who are trying to stabilize a world in a Climate Crisis.
Baby Boomer History
The Boomer Generation was born during the Baby Boom population spurt during a time of globalization and prosperity. Young Boomers protested for societal change ushering in a new set of ideals that were based on new equality for people of color and women. The Boomer influence has extended into the halls of justice, the workplace, and the education systems as they set new standards.
Baby Boomers were forged during a time of social movements and were most influenced by the following historical events:
- The Civil Rights Movements
- The Vietnam War and the Korean War
- Sputnik – The First Satellite launched into Space in 1957
- The Lunar Landing in 1969 by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins
- The rise of Television
- The rise of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War
- The Rise of the Suburbs
Baby Boomer Technology
Compared to the previous generations including the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation, Boomers grew up as the US and Russia (then USSR) were launching rocket ships and exploring the moon. Industrialization of the modern lead to the creation of factories on a mass scale that both created more economic wealth than ever before as well as accelerated Global Warming. Though Baby Boomers didn’t grow up the internet like Gen Z and the Millennial Generation, many Boomers learned to adapt to the rise of digital technology by learning new software and being active on social media.
Baby Boomers in the Workforce
The Baby Boomer generation is renowned for its legendary work ethic, which helped them become the wealthiest generation in history. The majority of politicians holding high position around the world are Boomers, who are used to working long hours and have climbed to become CEOs, VPs, and presidents of colleges. More billionaires than ever before were born during their generation.
The boomer generation has a high focus on achievement and is very goal-oriented. They are vital members of the workforce thanks to their motivated work style. The Baby Boom generation broke the glass ceiling, allowing women to eventually advance to leadership positions like CEO and President in corporations as well as high government office, even if older generations also had a strong work ethic.
The Boomer generation is the wealthiest generation in history thanks to the Baby Boomers’ strong work ethic during a period of economic success.
Baby Boomers and Retirement: Why the Boomers’ Retirement Is Different
For many Boomers, the move from the employment to retirement has been challenging. The diligent Boomer is not accustomed to having a lot of spare time, and their goal-oriented professional lives have left a hole. According to labor data, Baby Boomers are retiring later than earlier generations. Compared to their parents from the Silent and Greatest Generations, they are retiring as older adults, according to the Pew Research Center.
Many Baby Boomers made retirement plans, making sure they had enough funds to supplement their social security income. But many Baby Boomers continue to be active through mentoring and part-time employment to augment their social security. However, because their employment was such a big part of who they were, many Baby Boomers are going through a midlife crisis. Some people, seeing the status of the globe, are frustrated that the world they are leaving for future generations is becoming more and more unstable, especially as the Climate Crisis worsens. The Boomer Generation put in a lot of effort to support Generation X, Millennials, and their grandkids, Gen Z, but the globe is now unsafe due to economic instability and climate change. This is why Boomers have used intergenerational programs to assist the younger generation in stabilizing their communities, such as the mentor matching service offered by Gen Unison.
The Children of Boomers – Millennials (Gen Y) and Gen X
The Beatles’ song “Let it Be” served as the inspiration for the parenting philosophy of the Baby Boom generation. Due in part to the fact that both parents were required to put in long hours at work, they adopted a hands-off attitude. After school, their older Millennials and younger Gen X children returned home to an empty house. Because they were the first generation to have their own house key, Generation X came to be known as the Latchkey Generation.
Most frequently, baby boomers will be the grandparents of Gen Z (from 1997 to 2012), who will range in age from 11 to 26 in 2023. A growing number of grandparents want to spend more time with their Gen Z grandchildren as they approach retirement. It is frequently necessary to bridge the generational gap between Gen Z and Gen X in this procedure.