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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

What’s a Boomer?

Glad you asked. Stated very simply, the demographers, sociologists and the media define baby boomers as those born between (and including) 1946 and 1964. (There is no law or constitutional amendment so stating; and other boundaries have been suggested. But this is the time frame most commonly used.) In 2018, that would make us between 54 and 72 years old.

Wikipedia states that “Baby boomers are the demographic group born during the post–World War II baby boom, approximately between the years 1946 and 1964.”

There are about 75 million boomers in the U.S.; we currently represent about 29% of the U.S. population. (In Canada, we are sometimes known as “Boomies”; there are 6 million of us there. In Britain, our generation is known as “the bulge.”)

The term is used (nobody knows who coined the phrase) to define the “boom” in births after WWII. The Saturday Evening Post (a major magazine when we were kids) “celebrated” the coming of the boomers in their November 2, 1946 issue.

Our Boomer Stats page identifies the number of U.S. births during the 40s, 50s and 60s.

The 1960s is the decade that defined the boomers. The music, events, and the social changes made a permanent impression on us. Those of us born during the “peak” boomer years, ’52-’57, were in our formative years during the sixties. There were so many changes in the sixties that how old you were during the decade greatly affected how you turned out. 1961 was a whole lot different from 1969!

Those born at the early end of the spectrum were in our early 20s by 1970. The deaths of President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King; the Vietnam war and related protests; and the Watergate scandal... all made deep, lasting impressions on us.

At the other end, those born after 1959 have no direct recollection of the assassination of President Kennedy; most were not yet listening to rock music by the time the Beatles broke up. Buddy Holly, the Shirelles, Peter & Gordon, Leslie Gore, Dion, Nat Cole, Herman’s Hermits, the Mamas & Papas, Frankie Avalon, the Platters, the Drifters, the Everly Brothers, the Four Tops, and other great music artists of the 50s and 60s are not part of the foundation of their music tastes. They were more likely to use illegal drugs.... often to a great and disturbing excess. And they were never subjected to the military draft. So any attempt to lump us all together probably won’t work. We can tell, by the e-mail we receive here at BBHQ, that there is much that ties us together, but also much that separates us.

However, we believe that being a boomer is more a state of mind than a year of birth. Regardless of your age, if you love the uncomparable, fabulous music of the 60s and 70s, the wonderful TV sitcoms and variety shows of that era, if the phrases below make you smile... and you still talk in complete sentences... then you are one of us. Congratulations! Lucky you.

The Boomers’ Verbal Collage

Our e-mail indicates that many of us are committed to marriage and are still happily married to our high school sweethearts. And many of us have been married and divorced... more than once. We are the generation that pushed the divorce rate up to 50%... and made it seem “normal” and thus acceptable.

Many of us went to work for a company, worked our way up the ladder, and are now enjoying the fruits of our labors. Some of us have already retired; some will retire in a few years, and live a life of leisure, or embark on a second career. But many of us are entrepreneurs, and have never worked for a big company. Many of us plan never to retire.

A BBHQ Pop Quiz: This is a still-shot from a 1973 movie that was nominated for 2 Oscars. What is the title of the movie?

Your final answer is....

The “First” Boomer

As with most issues related to the boomers, there is some dispute as to who the first boomer is — the first baby born after midnight on the night of December 31, 1945. In 1980, author Landon Y. Jones found an account in the Philadelphia Inquirer which identified Kathleen Casey-Kirschling as having been born at one second after midnight. Though others may claim to be the first, the media has selected Ms. Casey-Kirschling as the first boomer.

The First Boomer

Impact on the Economy

We are amused when visitors ask what effect the boomers are having on the economy. Folks, in 2018, the economy is STILL the boomers! We represent the vast majority of the work force. There are 75 million of us; we ARE the economy. (That is not bragging; that is just a statistical reality.) The huge growth in the economy since the 90s is due, in large part, to 75 million of us working up to our peak earning and spending years. Despite the dire predictions in the media (and the profound wishes of some of the childish millennium crowd) 75 million boomers did not retire in 2011, when the first boomers turned 65. In fact, most boomers who reach the “retirement age” do not retire just because the calendar says so. That was our parents; that is not us.

What are we spending our money on? Other than Metallica CDs and movies aimed at 15 year-olds, whatever is being sold... we are buying it. What kind of cars are we buying? What kind are Detroit and Japan selling? We ARE the upper end of the automobile market. What explains the popularity of SUVs? Mostly, we do. Where do we go on vacation? Everywhere. How do we get there? Every way possible. Day care centers thrived because boomers did not want to take care of the kids they produced. And their offspring think it is supposed to be that way. (Parents are not supposed to stay home and raise their children. Why, that’s a terribly stupid idea, huh? That is what day care centers and the government is for.)

In the 50s, businesses focused on stuff for kids.... 30 million boomers... and still growing. Gerber (the baby food company) was huge in the 50s. Toys.... there was an enormous growth in the variety and quantity of toys. (“You can tell its Mattel; it’s swell!”) And TV, just coming into its own, focused heavily on kids’ shows. Disneyland.... a 50s thing. (Disneyworld.... a 70s thing, paid more attention to history and thrill rides.... things of interest to young adult boomers.) The stylish cars of the 60s and 70s – a direct response to the boomers.

The huge explosion in recreational vehicles in the 90s.... a direct response to empty-nest boomers.

And much as it makes my skin crawl, the first half of the 21st century will see a huge explosion in stuff for aging boomers: active retirement communities and vacation homes, skin creams, tooth whitening goo, cosmetic surgery, lasik surgery, Depends, and, of course, the Hair Club for Men. — Like I said, it makes my skin crawl.

As (relatively) old and aging as we are, we are still the largest age-related demographic.... “numbers too big to ignore.”

Social Impact:

Aside from that, what impact on society are boomers having? Well, let’s see now... the CEO of General Electric is a boomer; the CEO of IBM is a boomer; the CEO of General Motors is a boomer; the CEO of Apple is a boomer, the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal (Paul Gigot) is a boomer...

Bill Gates Paul Allen Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) Steven Spielberg
Ron Howard Tom Hanks Denzel Washington Michael Jordon
Meg Ryan Rush Limbaugh Bill O’Reilly Oprah
Barack Obama Mitt Romney Madonna Bruce Springsteen
Tom Cruise David Letterman Jay Leno Dr. Laura
Clarence Thomas Sean Hannity Glenn Beck Al Gore
Dr. Ben Carson Bill/Hillary Clinton Janet Yellen (fed chair) Elena Kagan
Sarah Palin George Bush John Roberts

... boomers all. Every candidate for the Supreme Court for the next decade will likely be a boomer.

How’s that for impact?

We have a list of about 300 famous boomers here.

Baby Boomer HeadQuarters is the spot on the web for Baby Boomers and those with the boomer spirit. Hershel M. Chicowitz, Boomer-In-Charge, is a spokesman for the boomer generation; but he does not claim to represent all boomers.

We have a great deal of information for and about baby boomers here at BBHQ. You are welcome to wander around; we encourage you to participate. The blue navigation buttons at the top and bottom of most pages will help you. But for more specific information on boomers, we suggest the following:

Boomer Stats Births of Boomers, by Year
Famous Boomers Names and DOB of 300 notable boomers
Boomers, the X'ers, and Beyond Definitions, Comparisions, and Commentary
The Boomer Essays Thoughts on Being a Boomer
The Boomer Years Major Events of the Boomer Years
The Sixties Section A Review of the Sixties
The Seventies Section A Review of the Seventies
The Music Room The Music of the Boomers
Woodstock Remembered A Defining Event for Many Boomers
Midlife Crisis - The Defining Moment Can You Relate to This?
Vietnam - From a Distance A Defining Event for Many Boomers
BBHQ Visitor Profile Just Who are the Visitors to BBHQ?

BBHQ Boomer Stories

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We're Not the Bad

 Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)
"Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," 55 songs: 2 CDs and a DVD from their last concert tour.
Click here to order this great collection.

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Hershel's kinda-like-a bio:
 Click here for a quick explanation about the philosophy behind these essays

The Boomer Essays - On Being a Boomer:

The BBHQ Freedom Series

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  Declaration of Independence
        What is Says; What it Means

The Boomer Health Care Series
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The Midlife

Crisis Series

Middle Age &

the Mazdamobile

The Teach, Preach and Nag Series
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Hell No; We Won't Go!

    What Will We Do?

    Do Not Go Gentle

The Boomer Money Series
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The BBHQ Vacation Series
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The BBHQ Feature Album is "Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," by Simon & Garfunkel. If you were fortunate enough to see them in concert in 2003, I do not have to sell you. The concert was terrific! This album collection includes 55 songs, plus their new recording, "Citizen of the Planet," and one of the songs sung by the Everly Brothers during the concert. The DVD was recorded during their concert in Madison Square Garden in 2003. For any S&G fan, this is a must have! But then, you knew that already, didn't you?  Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)

The BBHQ Feature Book is “Bobby Rydell – Teen Idol on the Rocks.” This is a “behind the scenes” story of one of the boomers’ first rock n’ roll stars. Told in the first person, Bobby chronicles his short ride to the pinnacle of fame and fortune, his glide through the 70s and 80s, and how he nearly lost it all. Relax; it has a happy ending. Bobby was (and is) a “normal” Philly guy... with an absolute love of music and an amazing gift. For any fan of early rock n’ roll, it’s a wonderful story. And yes, Bobby Rydell is still on tour, playing to boomer fans all over the world. Click here for a closer look at the book.

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