A baby boomer is someone born in a period of increased birth rates following World War II. In the United States, demographers have put the generation's birth years at 1946 to 1964; William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations include those conceived by soldiers on leave during the war, putting the generation's birth years at 1943 to 1960. In Canada the Baby Boom is usually defined as the generation born from 1947 to 1964 – Canadian servicemen were repatriated later than American servicemen, and Canada's birth rate did not start to rise till 1947. Whatever year they were born, Boomers were coming of age at the same time across the world, so that Britain was undergoing Beatlemania while people in America were driving over to Woodstock, organizing against the Vietnam War, or fighting and dying in the same war, Boomers in Italy were dressing in mod clothes and "buying the world a Coke", Boomers in India were seeking new philosophical discoveries, American Boomers in Canada had just found a new home after escaping the draft south of the border, Canadian Boomers were organizing support for Pierre Trudeau, and Boomers in Mexico were discovering new hallucinogenic drugs and rediscovering old ones. Although the term "Boomer" has fallen into global use, the generation is also known in Europe as the Generation of 1968.
The term is derived from a historically significant rise in the birth rate following the Second World War. Several factors have been credited with this rise, among them a general sense of relief at the war's end, and the resurgent economic conditions of the period. At the time this spike in the birthrate was named the "baby boom."
Boomers' typical grandparents were of the Lost Generation; their parents were of the G.I. Generation and Silent Generation. Their children are of Generation X and the Generation Y and their typical grandchildren will be of the generation that follows the Millenials (born circa 2004-2025).
Unlike the previous generation (the Silent), Boomers lack any childhood recollection of World War II. Unlike the next generation (Generation X), many American Boomers fought in Vietnam or organized opposition to it, or were reaching adolescence or lingering in "post-adolescence" (a term coined for them) as the Vietnam War drew to a close. See also Generation gap.
- 1943 Oliver North
- 1943 Janis Joplin (died 1970)
- 1943 Joe Namath
- 1944 Angela Davis
- 1945 Steve Martin
- 1946 David Stockman
- 1946 Donald Trump
- 1946 Gilda Radner (died 1989)
- 1947 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- 1947 Mark Rudd
- 1947 David Letterman
- 1948 Al Gore
- 1948 Samuel L. Jackson
- 1948 Jerry Mathers "The Beaver"
- 1950 Jane Pauley
- 1951 Lee Atwater (died 1991)
- 1951 Luther Vandross
- 1954 Oprah Winfrey
- 1954 Patty Hearst
- 1955 Steve Jobs
- 1955 William H. Gates III
- 1957 Spike Lee
- 1959 John McEnroe
Their cultural endowments have included the following:
- Doonesbury (comic, Garry Trudeau)
- All the President's Men (book, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, later a movie)
- The Fate of the Earth (Jonathan Schell)
- The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
- Cathy (comic, Cathy Guisewite)
- "American Pie" (song, Don McLean)
- Saturday Night Live (television show)
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (film, Steven Spielberg)
- Strawberry Statement (James Kunen)
- Green Rage (Christopher Manes)
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Maya Lin)
- Do the Right Thing (film, Spike Lee)