Baby Boom

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The Baby Boom was the upsurge in the birth rate in the United States between 1945 and 1960. Between the end of World War II and 1964, 78 million baby boomers were born and now are part of the "Boomers" generation.

(The same phenomenom occurred in Europe).

Baby Boomers are now middle age and entering senior years. They are changing the demographic of the total population.

Boomers in the US are only a small part of the estimated 450 million Baby Boomers worldwide.

Baby Boom Generation (1946 through 1964 saw a marked increase in the number of births in North America.

The birthrate rose and fell during the baby boom years:

1940 - 2,559,000 births per year
1946 - 3,311,000 births per year
1955 - 4,097,000 births per year
1957 - 4,300,000 births per year
1964 - 4,027,000 births per year
1974 - 3,160,000 births per year

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Easterlin Models

Richard Easterlin is an economist and professor of economics who has researched and published much literature on economic growth in the United States. In one of Richard Easterlin’s articles, published in 2000, titled, Twentieth Century American Population Growth, he explains the growth pattern of American population in the twentieth century by examining the fertility rate fluctuations and the decreasing mortality rate. In his article, Easterlin attempts to prove the cause of the Baby Boom and Baby Bust by the “relative income” theory, despite the various other theories that these events have been attributed to. The “relative income” theory suggests that couples choose to have children based on a couple’s ratio of potential earning power and the desire to obtain material objects. This ratio depends on the economic stability of country and how people are raised to value material objects. The “relative income” theory explains the Baby Boom by suggesting that the late 1940s and 1950s brought low desires to have material objects, because of the Great Depression and WWII, as well as huge job opportunities, because of being a post war period. These two factors gave rise to a high relative income, which encouraged high fertility. Following this period, the next generation had a greater desire for material objects, however, an economic slowdown in the United States, made jobs harder to acquire. This resulted in lower fertility rates causing the Baby Bust.

Bibliography

  • Barkan, Elliott Robert. From All Points: America's Immigrant West, 1870s-1952, (2007) 598 pages
  • Richard E. Barrett, Donald J. Bogue, and Douglas L. Anderton. The Population of the United States 3rd Edition (1997) compendium of data
  • Carter, Susan B., Scott Sigmund Gartner, Michael R. Haines, and Alan L. Olmstead, eds. The Historical Statistics of the United States (Cambridge UP: 6 vol; 2006) vol 1 on population; available online; massive data compendium; online version in Excel
  • Chadwick Bruce A. and Tim B. Heaton, eds. Statistical Handbook on the American Family. (1992)
  • Easterlin, Richard A. Birth and Fortune: The Impact of Numbers on Personal Welfare (1987), by leading economist excerpt and text search
  • Gillon, Steve. Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever, and How It Changed America (2004), by leading historian. excerpt and text search
  • Hawes Joseph M. and Elizabeth I. Nybakken, eds. American Families: a Research Guide and Historical Handbook. (Greenwood Press, 1991)
  • Klein, Herbert S. A Population History of the United States. Cambridge University Press, 2004. 316 pp
  • Macunovich, Diane J. Birth Quake: The Baby Boom and Its Aftershocks (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Mintz Steven and Susan Kellogg. Domestic Revolutions: a Social History of American Family Life. (1988)
  • Wells, Robert V. Uncle Sam's Family (1985), general demographic history
  • Weiss, Jessica. To Have and to Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom, and Social Change (2000) excerpt and text search

See also