Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were celebrating New Year’s Day? We are now working our way through the month of February. The Super Bowl has come and gone and the Winter Olympics have begun in Soche, Russia. Jay Leno delivered his last Tonight Show monologue on Thursday, February 6th. The 2014 clock ticks away. Included in the many facts and events that have yet to be chronicled for 2014 are demographics on the last of the Baby Boomers who turn 50 this year.
Baby Boomers are those persons born between 1946, the end of World War II, and 1964. Why are they important? They are they largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history – approximately 79 million [Ref 1] This explains why this demographic group has been and continues to be the subject of much discussion, research and studies. I count myself as one of them.
Until recently, I never really thought about other countries having Baby Booms, but they did and do just like the U.S. Young males from Canada and Australia that had similar tours of duty during World War II also returned home and started families. A significant increase in the birth rate is also documented in Canada from 1947 to 1966, and Australia from 1946 to 1961. [Ref 1] No differently in Australia and Canada, when the birth rate rises, the demand for consumer products, homes, automobiles, roads, and services also rises.
Fast facts about U.S. Boomers [Ref 2]:
§ 1946 (post World War II) 3,411,000 babies born
§ 1957 (the year the boom peaked) 4,300,000 babies born
§ 1964 (the end of an era) 4,027,000 babies
Here’s another interesting fact: the Baby Boom lasted until the introduction of the birth control pill in 1964. Fifty years later, Boomers are still wowing themselves and everyone else! Why? Primarily because of their size! Boomers make up roughly 25% of the total U.S. population of 311,591,917 (as of July 2011). Demographers estimate the current Baby Boomer population to be 75 to 78 million.
Additional stats tell us that Boomers [Ref 3]:
§ Have more discretionary income (wealth) than any other age group.
§ Control 70% of the total net worth of American households – $7 trillion of wealth.
§ Own 80% of all money in savings and loan associations.
§ Spend more money disproportionately to their numbers.
§ Are not fanatically loyal to brands.
§ Watch television more than any other age group.
§ Read newspapers more than any other age group.
§ Account for a dramatic 40% of total consumer demand.
Essentially they are the largest buying group in America and have and continue to put their purchasing power to work! They have and continue to define how America shops. Although the last of those born in this generation will turn 50 this year, they don’t see themselves getting older, but entering a new phase of life.
One of the myths about Boomers, Gen-Xers, Millennials, and perhaps any other generation is that they all act the same. The numbers do not support this: 75+ million people would never do that! While Boomers share a lot in common, there is a lot that is individual and different including the experiences and events that shape each life.
For sure, Boomers will also define or redefine health and elder care as they get older. It is certain that they will also redefine the words senior citizen and retirement. Some will retire, others will not. According to the Bureau of Census, in 2030, when Boomers will be 65 and older, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 and older.
Some notable Baby Boomers include First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), Michelle Obama, who celebrated her 50th birthday on January 17th. President Obama along with first daughters, Malia and Sasha, helped her celebrate with a blow-out bash at the White House on Saturday, January 18th. Unfortunately, I didn’t get an invitation.
Others include President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State and FLOTUS Hillary Clinton, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice, Deepak Chopra, Madonna, Tim Allen, Charles Barkley, Katie Couric, Bill Gates, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Christine Lahti, Brad Pitt, Maria Shriver, Caroline Kennedy, Jason Alexander, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Sandra Bullock, former President George W. Bush, FLOTUS Laura Bush, Cher, etc. I’m in good company.
I also suspect that a number of Boomers were not familiar with Bruno Mars, the singer and musician who performed with his band during the half-time show during the Super Bowl a week ago. He wowed the crowd according to some! Saved the Super Bowl according to others! Lots of Boomers are now checking him out. My sister is one of them.
In closing, another 50th celebration that has come and gone this year is that of the British Invasion of America. This occurred on February 7, 1964 when John, Ringo, George and Paul stepped off of a Pan Am flight from London to New York City. Most everyone in America has heard of the Beatles and various renditions of their songs, especially the Boomers. They took America by storm, had and continue to have an impact on pop culture…so much so that the GRAMMYs – those folks who hand out music awards – aired a special Tribute to the Beatles on CBS this past Sunday evening, February 9th.
Fiftieth (50) birthdays are important milestones. A long life that includes growing older is a privilege that is not afforded to all. Consider each day a reason to celebrate life!
1. Baby Boom: The Population Baby Boom of 1946-1964 in the United States, By Matt Rosenberg, http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/babyboom.htm, last updated March 27, 2009.
2. Baby Boomer Generation Fast Facts, CNN Library, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/us/baby-boomer-generation-fast-facts/
3. Baby Boomers are STILL the Largest Consumer Group in America – Even in a Recession, April 3, 2014, http://www.babyboomer-magazine.com/news/165/ARTICLE/1217/2013-04-03.html