Demographers defined “baby boom” as a rise in the number of births that began in 1946, just after the Second World War, reached a climax in 1957, and declined only in 1964. The enhanced economy is believed to be responsible for the rapid rise in the number of births during these years. Many people use the word “generation” with reference to this phenomemon, but demographers use the word “cohort,” which means a group of people experiencing similar events within a specific time frame. The social changes of the times have a great impact on the lives of baby boomers.
Baby boomers are classified into two categories–early boomers who were born between 1946 and 1955 and late boomers who were born between 1956 and 1964. The last of the late boomers arrived when the Beatles were on their first tour in America and when the early boomers were around 18 years of age. Baby boomers are worth noting because of their large numbers. They literally filled educational institutions and labor markets.
Economic and Social Changes
According to studies, societal impacts have played a great role in shaping the characters of baby boomers, which, in turn, have reshaped the society. Baby boomers think differently. Due to their large numbers, their thoughts and beliefs dominated almost everything in society.
There is a great difference in the economic status of early and late boomers. The energetic job market and rise in economy enjoyed by the early boomers gave rise to a need for economic adjustment on the part of late boomers. This was basically due to the rapid growth of service sectors, instability in employment opportunities for the middle classes, changes in locations for workers, and adjustments in the career market.
Many baby boomers felt that economic security was elusive. Studies on the baby boomer generation revealed several differences among the incomes of Hispanic, Asian, African-American, and white Americans. For example, the black baby boomers were considered to be inferior to the whites, although all the baby boomers did extremely well in school.
Baby boomers were impacted by the ways in which society changed after the post war years. Ideas about gender, family, and sexuality underwent a great change. Concepts such parenthood, aging, retirement, labor, and so on were redefined. Even when they were old, baby boomers preferred to be active and involved. Many remained in the workforce to support their families.
Stereotype and Conservation Boomers
Both stereotype as well as conservative baby boomers such as Seth Grossman created a number of changes in society. The stereotype baby boomers protested on the streets while the conservative baby boomers protested through leaflets, student magazines, and public forums. Their activities might not have attracted public attention; however they achieved great success when they brought into force a referendum that caused the Duke students to withdraw from the National Student Association.
Conservative baby boomers might not match the usual image of a baby boomer, yet they comprise a powerful force in society. They did not make it to the headlines of the newspapers because they quietly attended class when the rest of their classmates were participating in a boycott. But in 1968, they were the ones who supported conservatives such as George Wallace.
About a third of the baby boomers served in the Vietnam war. A number of other boomers achieved a lot of success in a variety of other fields. Joyce Johnson, an African-American stereotype baby boomer, was famous as an activist in her college days. In Duke School, she fought for the good of her race. She was very much involved in the activities on the Duke Campus in the sixties. Johnson and Grossman contributed a great change in the society.
It is very important to understand baby boomers, especially since they are now advanced in years. They have had a profound impact on the economy of the country. Baby boomers have not only reshaped society, but have also had an impact on a number of people beside themselves.