Baby boomers are described as people who were born during the baby boom of the post World War II years. Most sociologists and historians are unable to agree on a concrete time frame for the generation so the term "baby boomer" is understood to be an ambiguous one. As a group, the demographic was very healthy and privileged, and in America they were one of the first generations to grow up with the outlook that the world was slowly improving.
In the months following the second world war, the general mood had shifted from one of dreary caution to broad optimism optimism. The economies of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia were suddenly viable and the countries began experiencing record employment numbers. Thanks to the military's GI Bill, returning soldiers were able to complete their education and obtain higher paying jobs. It also meant that the newly reunited couples could now afford to start families as well.
The United States Census Bureau defines the generation as infants born between 1946 and 1964. The years immediately following the war saw the largest and initial boom, averaging one hundred and forty three thousand annual births.
A common theme among the boomers is a sense of generational distinctiveness. The group, as a whole, was analyzed, studied, and occasionally exploited by advertisers from almost the second they were conceived. The trend of marketing predominately to them as they grow has only recently subsided (mostly due to their retirement). Many theories even suggest that when the baby boomers' spending habits slow, the economy will as well.
Because of their sheer numbers, the actions and ideologies of the boomers were often given center stage. The predominately liberal generation was pro women's rights and anti war. They were rock and roll's main audience and tended not to depend on religion as their parents had.
While all of the babies born in eighteen year span are considered "boomers", the large span naturally created a rift between those many years apart. In 1985, a study on the generation was able to effectively define two separate waves within the group. When asked by sociologists what the most memorable events from the past fifty years was, the first wave named the Cuban Missile Crisis, Woodstock, and the moon walk. The second wave, instead chose Watergate, disco, the Cold War, and MTV.
Their generational successors, known as Generation X have been described as complete opposites. The work ethics of the two groups are one of the most noticeable differences. Unlike the boomers, those born between 1961 and 1981 are less likely to stick with one job or company for their own careers. Having grown up watching their parents suffer through divorces makes them more likely to put their family before their jobs as well.
In 1966 Time magazine collectively named the infamous boomers their "Person of the Year", further specifying the generation's significant historical and cultural impact. The boomers have become associated with gay rights, the feminist movement, and other social movements. It's no wonder they are considered the most idealized generation in history.