Baby Boom Generation is a term which portrays a generation born during the middle part of the 20th Century. The birth years of the Baby Boom Generation are the subject of controversy. Historically, everyone born during the post-World War II demographic boom in births was called part of the Baby Boom Generation. However, as numerous experts have pointed out, generations have traditionally been based on the shared formative experiences of its members; this was the only time a generation had been named by the fertility rates of its members’ parents. This article deals with the Baby Boom Generation from a cultural perspective, while a separate article deals with the "Post-World War II baby boom".
In the United States, the Baby Boom Generation is stereotypically associated with cultural touchstones like the Howdy Doody, Star Trek and Mission Impossible TV shows, Woodstock, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence. As a group, they were the healthiest, and wealthiest generation to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.
One of the unique features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about. This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations, which was a relatively new phenomenon.
The baby boom has been described variously as a "shockwave" and as "the pig in the python." By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as they passed through it.