I am a baby boomer. There I’m out of the closet now. Not only that but I’m proud that I am a “boomer”. Many of you reading this will say, “What is a baby boomer?”
Well here is the simple and basic explanation. When the Second World War ended in late 1945 the soldiers, airmen, and sailors started coming home. These were people who had not seen loved ones in some cases for years. They wanted to get back to normal, start working, make love, and make babies. Hell there is no other way to put this – they were horny!
Above: famous photo of celebration at end of WW II, “The Kiss”.
The result was that starting in 1946 there was a baby boom in both Canada and the United States. It was a virtual manufacturing industry. Babies and more babies, babies everywhere. The boom continued into the early 1960s, when along came the birth control pill. This technology coincided nicely with the fact that by then most of the returnees had produced families and had jobs. Life was good, except they had to find a way to stop having more babies, or at least slow down, so that the number of mouths to feed was limited.
Today in Canada and the United States the largest segment of the population are the baby boomers. Like me most of them are now over 50 and getting ready to retire in the near future. The result will be a shortage of experience, skilled workers in the workforce. On the plus side this will provide many opportunities for younger workers, on the negative side employers will be scrambling to replace the knowledge lost.
Statistics Canada data shows that just over 15% of Canadian workers are 55 or older and close to retirement. It also shows that for the first time there are just as many workers over age 40 as under.
The other area of society impacted will be the health care system. As the boomer generation ages, their large numbers will create a major stress on health care providers.
Boomers are often criticized for wanting to retire and enjoy our golden years. Younger society is dreading the costs of health care and other services that boomers will be accessing. The cost to society will be great.
To critics I say this, the majority of boomers have worked productively for over 40 years, paid taxes, contributed to pension plans, and given in time and money to society. In my case I have been employed full-time for almost 40 years and have never collected unemployment or welfare in all those years. We boomers have earned our retirement and the health care that we will surely need.