The Baby Boomer Generation: An Overview

In this article...
  • A baby boomer is an individual who was born in the United States between 1946 and 1964, and many are retired or considering retirement. Find out more.

Baby boomers are a generation of people born in the mid-20th century who make up a large portion of the U.S. population. All living baby boomers are now older adults, with many making the transition into retirement. 

What Is the Baby Boomer Generation?

The baby boomer generation pertains to the generation of people born in the United States between the years 1946 and 1964. The phrase "baby boomer" stems from the "boom" of babies born after soldiers returned to the United States following World War II. Baby boomers also exist outside the United States, but the term isn't widely used, and specific demographics and dates may vary when compared to the U.S. baby boom. Many of the first baby boomers started having children in the late 1960s and 1970s, when soldiers returned to the United States after serving in the Vietnam War. 

What Are Some Interesting Baby Boomer Facts?

Baby boomers make up approximately 26% of the U.S. population, with California residents accounting for 9 million baby boomers, the highest number in the country. Baby boomers are the longest-living generation in history, and approximately 80% of baby boomers are homeowners. Four baby boomers have served as U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. 

Are Many Baby Boomers Still a Part of the Workforce?

A large portion of baby boomers have moved onto or are moving toward retirement, but approximately 41 million are still part of the U.S. workforce. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 30 million baby boomers exited the workforce. While many baby boomers chose to retire early, others had no choice due to their ages putting them in "high-risk" status for contracting COVID-19. Alternatively, there are also baby boomers who may wish to retire but may not have the savings to sustain them in a long retirement. 

Are Baby Boomers Living Longer Than Their Parents?

Some baby boomers are living longer than their parents' generation, due to factors such as advancements in medicine and smarter health and lifestyle choices. When baby boomers first started entering the world, the life expectancy ages for their parents were approximately 64.4 years for men and 69.4 years for women. As of 2016, men and women were living into their 70s and 80s, and research conducted by the Social Security Administration forecasts the life expectancies in 2050 will range between 79.2 and 81.2 for men and between 83.3 and 86.7 for women. Because the youngest baby boomers were born in 1964, many of them will turn 86 years old in 2050. 

What's the Difference Between Baby Boomers and Generation X?

Generation X refers to the generation of people born between 1965 and 1980, and baby boomers represent the generation of individuals born between 1946 and 1963. People born in the generation X era are sometimes referred to as baby boomers, mainly due to the catchphrase "okay boomer," a saying coined by the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1986). The meaning behind this catchphrase pertains to younger generations not agreeing with the beliefs of the older generations, but it has come under scrutiny due to its overall negative tone and the fact that millennials typically direct it at generation Xers and not baby boomers.

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