When the Second World War (1939 – 1945) ended millions of men returned home to wives and girlfriends most hadn’t seen in years. Guess what happened? Nine months later there began a baby boom the likes of which had never been seen, and hasn’t been seen since. In Canada anyone born between 1947 and 1967 is considered a “baby boomer” or “boomer” for short.
Truly effective birth control, the pill, wasn’t available until the mid 1960’s, so in most cases sex resulted in babies, lots of them. This was not a bad thing, after all these men and women wanted to return to a normal life after six long years of war abroad and on the home front.
Couples wanted to put the war behind them. They wanted marriage and family, and did they ever succeed. Some factoids on the baby boom:
- During the years 1947 to 1966 in Canada there were over 400,000 babies born each year. The highest year was 1959 with 479,000 born.
- In the United States during roughly the same period over 4,000,000 were born each year.
- At the height of the boom Canadian women averaged four offspring each.
I am a “boomer” as are my siblings. We were born in 1949, 1951, and 1955 respectively. Now over sixty years later our generation is beginning to enter our retirement years.
Our generation makes up the largest individual segment of the Canadian population (more than 30%). With retirement comes two key questions for Canadian society,
- Can the pension plans handle the massive numbers of retirees?
- Can the expertise lost by industry and government be replaced?
Most boomers are healther and wealthier than previous generations, but the cost of living has skyrocketed. Better health means longer lives and more stress on retirement income sources.
The anticipated retirement of workers from the workforce will mean more opportunity for the younger generations coming into the workforce.
Baby boomers have a tremendous impact on Canadian society and will continue to be a factor for many years to come. Some factoids on the impact of the boomer generation today (stats are from the United States, but are similar here in Canada.):
- Control over 80% of personal assets
- Control over 50% of discretionary spending.
- Account for more than half of consumer spending.
- Purchase 77% of all prescription drugs.
- Account for 80% of all leisure travel spending.
Stay tuned for more postings on my experiences as part of the Boomer Generation.