NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Baby Boomers: The Favored Generation

August 4, 2000

Those Americans born during the baby boom years of 1946 to 1964 make up 30 percent of the U.S. population today. They are now between 36 and 54 years of age and Census Bureau data show them to be wealthier than their parents ever were in middle age.

  • As of 1998, median family income for the head of a household between 35 and 44 years of age was $51,883.
  • For those ages 45 to 54, the figure was $61,833 -- up from $3,440 in 1947.
  • Accounting for inflation, the 1947 figure equates to $23,170 in 1998 dollars.
  • While boomers have more liquid financial assets and home equity than their parents did, they also have fewer other financial assets and more debt, according to Census experts.

Marketers have followed the boom generation for decades, producing and advertising items that appealed to them as children, then as teens and young adults. Now it is people over the age of 40 who have the resources to purchase big-ticket items and they are again being targeted. They are beginning to get out from under the burden of paying for their children's education and the children have left home.

Many of those empty-nesters are considering smaller homes -- and developers are adjusting to serve that market.

Some analysts had predicted that baby boomers would not be as successful as their parents, simply because there were so many of them competing for what was then thought to be a scarcity of jobs. But the jobs materialized and the generation prospered.

Source: Associated Press, "Baby Boomers Healthier, Wealthier than Parents," Washington Times, August 4, 2000.


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