The baby boomer generations can be further divided into the initial group of people born in the first half of their generation and the “Jones Generation” born in the second half. More recently, the “Golden Boomers” have been identified as those in or nearing retirement. All boomers have seen great changes in society and have played a major role in these changes.
While nearly everyone has heard the term “Baby Boomer” many may not now exactly who this is or where it came from. Most agree it that it began to come into use after the book Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, by Landon Jones. In the United States, it is used to refer to those who were born between 1946 and 1964.
So, who are the Baby Boomers Generations?
In some other countries who also experienced a blossoming of population increase in the relative peace and prosperity that followed World War II, the time frame is set a few years earlier or later. Generations that preceded the baby boomers are often referred to as the Traditionalists. The following generation is usually called Generation X.
Even the baby boomer generation itself may be subdivided into two parts. One group includes those born from 1946 to 1953, with those who were born in 1954 and later in the period called “Generation Jones.” This name almost certainly derives from the author Landon Jones. This group was, of course, after the war in Korea, although it was a time during which the Cold War developed.
A new term has recently come into use, the “Golden Boomers.” This represents the older part of the baby boomer group who is approaching retirement age or who may have taken early retirement before the age of 65. Never has so large a group approached retirement at about the same time, and this has vast implications on the needs of an aging population.
There is a great deal that distinguishes the baby boomers as a group. They represent a time in which youth was idealized and such catch terms evolved such as “Never trust a person over 30.” Of course this philosophy fell rather flat as boomers reached 30 themselves. They experienced the fears of the Cold War and the seemingly very real possibility of nuclear annihilation. They saw humankind touch the beginnings of outer space and saw technologies explode at an unending pace.
The baby boomer generations are also notable for changes in attitudes in society. Boomers experienced the fulfillment of the civil rights movement early in their lives and were part of new movements for women’s rights, gay rights, and protection of the rights of the disabled. Attitudes toward American involvement in foreign wars changed from previous almost automatic support to more questioning of the appropriateness of the venture. Advances in birth control were linked to new attitudes about human sexuality.
Whatever the exact period of time of their birth or any subdivisions or new distinctions, it is clear that these 76 or so million people born in the after war baby boom have had profound impacts on their world.