Starting in the years following World War II until 1964, about 78 million people were born in the United States, creating a large birth cohort known as the Baby Boomers.
Unique historical and economic influences contributed to this birth surge. When the war ended in 1945, returning veterans married, started families, pursued higher education, and bought their first homes. While the formative years of the pre-boomers generation were shaped by the Great Depression, slower birth rates, poverty and insecurity of a home or job, they now entered a post-war period where it was possible to thrive on the American dream, life was simple, jobs were plentiful, and consumer demand fueled economic growth. A record number of babies were born.
While the term “silver tsunami” was initially coined to refer to the aging of the American workforce and declining labor force participation rate, it is now colloquially used to describe the profound effect this aging cohort will have on America.
Not everyone likes the term, and there has been some push back regarding its use. Listen to this article from NPR about terms, like “silver tsunami,” that irk those over 65.