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Baby boomer trends have quite naturally changed as they enter different life stages and will continue to do so as they enter retirement. Because their ranks of 78 million are so large, their impact as senior citizens will likely be as great as their impact was as a activist youths.
Because the generation is so very large and powerful, baby boomer trends tend to have a great impact on the entire population. This generation of 78 million souls was the product of a true “baby boom” that lasted from 1946 until 1964. In 1965, the birthrate dropped as dramatically as it had risen in 1946 and that generation was part of a “baby bust.”
The lower birthrates starting in the mid 1960's were just one of the baby boomer trends. This generation was well educated and was aware of global environmental and population issues. Many of them agreed with the ZPG or zero population growth movement and chose to have fewer children than did previous generations. Members of the baby boomers were also cognizant of better health care and the realization that most children were likely to survive since the advent of antibiotics and immunizations to prevent what had once been devastating and common diseases.
Another baby boomer trend was activism in causes that they found meaningful. They either grew up in or were part of the civil rights movement, the movement for women's rights, and the environmental movement. Some of them were able to vote as young as 18 with a new constitutional amendment and were able to do more than just talk about politics. The relatively new medium of television brought the news to them vividly and on a daily basis which fed their activism.
During the Vietnam War era, baby boomers were quite vocal in either their support for or opposition to that war. While some of them adhered to the traditional view that only military service was patriotic, others challenged the validity of the war and organized protests and draft resistance. Some went so far as to flee to Canada to avoid the military draft.
These baby boomers were a powerful social and political force, since by 1965 it was true that four out of every ten Americans was under the age of twenty. This was a true “youth culture” and it was beginning to recognize its potential. Baby boomers were more likely to have college educated parents as a result of the GI bill and most had the expectation and experience of college themselves.
As baby boomers achieved financial success in their trades and professions, they became the most significant sector of the economy. Baby boomers cornered about 80% of the wealth of the nation and commanded 50% of both discretionary spending and overall consumer spending. They also accounted for 80% of the leisure travel expenditures as they sought seeing in person the many places television had brought to their awareness.
What trends baby boomers will carry into society as the begin to retire remains to be seen. It is likely that their love for travel will play a role for all who can afford it and it is likely that they will be willing users of technology and advances in medical care to extend and better their lives.