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Statistically, baby boomers are the largest generation in American history. They number approximately 77.6 million and control a significant amount of the wealth and spending power of the economy. As this generation enters retirement, the changes in their spending power are likely to generate a noticeable effect on the economy as a whole.
Baby boomer statistics reveal a great deal about this huge and significant generation. To begin with, those designated as baby boomers are the product of the “baby boom” which was a steep increase in the birthrate in the United States, Canada, and much of western Europe following World War II.
Baby boomers are sometimes further divided into two groups. A first cohort simply called “baby boomers are those born in the first half of the period between 1946 and 1964, while those born in the second half of the period are referred to as “Generation Jones.” The “Generation Jones” nomenclature comes from the author and journalist Landon Jones who coined the term baby boomer in his book “Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation.” Generation Jones members would have no memories of wars until the outbreak of the conflict in Vietnam.
One of the most significant of baby boomers statistics is their sheer size. Baby boomers number approximately 77.6 million individuals. Because of their numbers they obviously play a very large role in politics, the economy, and the culture itself. As they now are passing beyond middle age, they will mean increased demands for geriatric medical care and more strain on entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
The economic impact of the baby boomers cannot be ignored. In the United States alone, over 50% of the discretionary spending power rests with the baby boomers and they are responsible for over half of all consumer spending. In the area of health care, baby boomers buy 61% of over the counter medications and an astonishing 77% of all prescription drugs. Even their vacation habits play a big role in the economy with boomers accounting for about 80% of all leisure travel.
With baby boomers beginning to age and approach and enter retirement, there are concerns that their decreased spending power may have a negative impact on the economy. And the baby boomers are aging. It is estimated that a baby boomer in the United States turns 50 every 8.5 seconds! It is obvious that these “Golden Boomers” are going to impact all areas of American life now and for nearly the next twenty years.