Baby boom

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US Birthrate in the 1900s

The Baby Boom consists of Americans born between 1946 (the end of World War II) and the early 1960s (the beginning of the Vietnam War). The United States during this period benefited from strong religious values, peace and prosperity, and there were large numbers of heterosexual marriages and births. According to a 2001 article published on Christianity Today,

If you define a "generation" as a cohesive group sharing a common set of birthdates and experiences, with their own personality and felt needs, there has been only one "generation" in American history: baby boomers.[1]

The Baby Boom was the upsurge in the birth rate in the United States between 1945 and 1963. The hardships of the Great Depression, and a longterm separation of the sexes during the World War II led to a decline in the birthrate, as well as a decline in building industries. When World War II ended and the children of the Great Depression started having babies, it produced a tremendous demand for new economic activities. First, in home delivery diaper services, eventually construction of single family housing stock, then new schools, hospitals, food stuffs, clothing, toys, bicycles, etc.. By the 1960s, the boomer generation were known as anti-Vietnam War 'flower children', markedly at odds with with their own parents who often went without food as children of the Great Depression. The boomers parents later became known as The Greatest Generation who destroyed fascism and are remembered for their patriotism. Many boomers, by contrast, were seduced by Russian anti-Vietnam War propaganda, adopted leftist thinking and ideals, all the while creating a greater demand for American built automobiles and foreign and domestic fossil fuels, as well as construction of new jails to hold the multitude of hoodlums and offenders who succumbed to leftist revolutionary anti-capitalist thinking.

Between the end of World War II and 1964, 78 million baby boomers were born and now are part of the "Boomers" generation. They far outnumbered their predecessors, for the birth rate was low during the Great Depression years of the 1930s. They have been retiring in large numbers and greatly increasing the number of people in retirement and receiving assistance from the Depression-era Social Security program.

As of 2015, the Millennial Generation outnumbered boomers. Like Boomers, Millenials get their name from newspaper and magazine editors and writers and again like Boomers and unlike other generations where a large group of people born in the same era, sharing the same experiences, are not politically united. Since the Vietnam War of the 1960s when boomers came of age facing a mandatory draft to maintain a Keynsian "full employment budget" of the United States government and reduce unemployment among large numbers of recent high school graduates and drop outs, Boomers until their senior years never were able to exercise political power despite their large numbers. The Vietnam War divided them socially, politically, and culturally, basically between those who loved their country with a respect for law and democracy, and radical socialist criminals who would rather do illegal drugs then to go fight and die for other people's freedom, as the Greatest Generation had.

St. Joseph Hospital, Chicago, 1941

The boomers are much better educated and have higher incomes than previous generations of Americans.

Other countries had a much smaller "boom" after 1945.

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

The name 'boom' itself is derived from the Boom and Bust cycle, or business cycle, and exonerates President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal of the charge of socialism. It attests to widespread understanding of the capitalist system in popular cultural immediately after the defeat of fascism. It has been argued that Franklin Roosevelt 'saved capitalism', and without him, America would have suffered violent socialist revolution. By 1946 when newspaper and magazines began writing about the new 'boom' in babies, both the boomers' parents, now in their child baring years, and their parents and grandparents who suffered through the deprivations of the Depression and war, well understood the boom and bust cycle of capitalism as necessary to supply a nation and its people with all the food, clothing, shelter, and national defense to protect democracy and bring about prosperity for all peoples, and that the leftwing socialist and totalitarian regimes they fought against, first in National Socialist Germany, then against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the Korean War, were a threat to freedom, liberty, and human rights. 'Boom times' meant opportunity, and an end to the ferquent and unstable ups and owns of the New Ordeal. Like an 'oil boom' or 'housing boom', the 'baby boom' was born, and their parents and grandparents had, by the testimony of their own lives, throughout the Great Depression and war years, a healthy respect for the profit-motive. Communism, or anything that threatened peace, prosperity, and family by the McCarthy era, was harshly disfavoured.

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.

trends in birth rates 1900-1980

In one of 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.

Religion

It was reported in 1990 that a meaningful amount of the generation was going back to church.[2]

See also

Bibliography

May 19, 1986 issue
  • Barkan, Elliott Robert. From All Points: America's Immigrant West, 1870s-1952, (2007) 598 pages
  • Barrett, Richard E., 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. The American Baby Boom in Historical Perspective, (1962), the single most influential study complete text online
  • 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

References

  1. Andy Crouch (May 21, 2001). Andy Crouch: Generation Misinformation. Christianity Today. Retrieved on March 11, 2020.
  2. Baby Boomers Rediscover Church. Christianity Today (October 22, 1990). Retrieved on March 11, 2020.