19 Baby Boomer Facts That Are Sure to Change the Way You See Them
Updated · Mar 06, 2023
Remember all those posts floating around the Internet that blame baby boomers for just about anything that’s wrong with the world?
Climate change? Their fault.
Housing market? Baby boomers ruined it.
Student debts? You guessed it.
Granted—generational gaps have always existed, but this one seems particularly ferocious.
If you’re looking for concrete statistics and not unsubstantiated speculation, read along. Today, we’ll explore these issues one baby boomer fact at a time.
Groovy Facts About Baby Boomers (Editor’s Choice)
- Baby boomers’ buying power is about $2.6 trillion.
- There are 71 million baby boomers in the US.
- 10,000 boomers reach retirement age every day.
- 59% of baby boomers support their children financially.
- Baby boomers dominate spending across 119 of 123 consumer packaged goods categories.
- 90% of baby boomers are married.
- Social media is popular with 82% of baby boomers.
What Is a Boomer?
As the name suggests, a baby boomer is someone who was born during the postwar baby boom. A period of civil unrest and reforms, the 50s and 60s were also a time of growing affluence, leading to many boomers assuming an optimistic outlook for the future.
But is it all so rosy for this generation?
1. A baby boomer is someone born between 1946 and 1964.
The baby boomer age range encompasses everyone who’s currently 57–75 years old. More specifically, the term applies to those born in the 18 years immediately following World War II.
During this period of time, 76.4 million babies were born, representing 40% of the US population at the time (192 million people)
Fun fact: back in the baby boomer era, an average of 4.24 million babies were born every year. Nowadays, this number has dwindled down to 3.75 million.
2. There are about 71 million baby boomers in the US.
The baby boomer population is immense, but it’s no longer the most populous generation. That honor goes to the millennials, who now number 70+ million. The oldest baby boomers are now in their late seventies, so this segment of the population is naturally waning.
On the other hand, the millennial cohort in the country keeps on growing, mainly due to the immigration of young people.
3. Baby boomers comprise 21.45% of the total US population.
Another fun way to look at this baby boomer statistic is in terms of percentages. There are more than 330 million people in the United States. Baby boomers account for 21.45% of them, whereas millennials make up 21.93%.
Gen Zers (20.35%) come in third place, and Gen Xers (19.71%) in fourth.
4. Ten thousand boomers turn 65 every day.
(Source: United States Census Bureau)
By 2030, all boomers will be 65 or older. Until then, an average of 10,000 people will turn 65 every day—they already do.
Why should we care about this?
Because this baby boomer fact means that nearly 71 million people will soon retire. This, in turn, places enormous pressure on programs such as Social Security.
5. Life expectancy has nearly doubled in the last century.
(Source: United States Census Bureau)
The above-mentioned problem is further exacerbated by the fact that life expectancy has risen sharply compared to the 20th century.
At the age of 65, people a hundred years ago were expected to live another 11 to 12 years on average. As of 2010, estimates put this number at 19 years. This means the state will need to provide for the older generation for nearly double the time, which will cost taxpayers trillions.
The Many Baby Boomer Lifestyles
Like any older generation, boomers also tend to say that they worked hard to get where they are (the “unlike young people” is, of course, implied).
Here, we’ll look at some statistics to try and figure out if they are telling the truth. Of course, life is not all work, so we’ll also talk about how boomers like to spend their hard-earned wealth.
6. 41 million baby boomers are working.
(Source: Pew Research)
The baby boom generation is quickly approaching retirement, with some of them already 70+ years old (and retired).
Still, 41 million of the 71 million-strong generation are still working, making up a quarter of the total US workforce. For comparison, millennials (56 million) and Generation Xers (53 million) combined account for about two-thirds of the workforce.
7. 29% of baby boomers aged 65+ haven’t retired yet.
(Source: Pew Research)
The younger baby boomers are still in their fifties, so it’s only natural that they’d still be working. However, baby boomer workforce statistics show that nearly a third of baby boomers aged 65–72 are still either working or looking for work.
For comparison, only 21% of the Silent Generation (1928–1945) and 19% of the Greatest Generation (1901–1927) did that at the same age.
8. In 2020, more people retired than in previous years.
The latest baby boomer retiring statistics show that nearly 30 million members of the cohort exited the workforce permanently in Q3 2020. This is an increase of over 1.1 million baby boomer retirees compared to previous years.
The pandemic caused many people to lose their jobs, but it also inspired many to quit themselves. Young people often did so out of frustration with low pay and inadequate working conditions. Baby boomers found little reason to keep working in the volatile environment caused by the coronavirus.
Furthermore, 75% of those still working say that they’re looking into early retirement.
9. 18% of baby boomers do their groceries online.
Baby boomers and technology don’t always go hand in hand, but it appears that a sizable portion of the generation doesn’t want to skip the convenience of online shopping.
While a majority of boomers prefer to shop in-store, 18% say they do their groceries online. Back in 2015, only 12% did, so there’s a clear uptrend.
Fun fact: Generation Zers are the only cohort where the majority prefer online shopping over brick and mortar stores, with 51% choosing to shop online.
10. Baby boomers’ buying power is around $2.6 trillion.
Baby boomers own more than two-thirds of the country’s disposable income. This obviously makes them the wealthiest generation, and it shows—boomers spend a combined $548 billion every year.
Diving a little deeper into baby boomers’ spending habits, you can see they’re the top spenders in 119 out of 124 categories of packaged goods.
Ironic as it may be, considering that 90% of marketing targets millennials and not boomers.
Did Boomers Ruin America?
There we go, we just had to have a header like this.
Now that we have your attention, we’ll compare baby boomers to their successors and see how they match up in various categories.
11. 31.1% of boomers have at least a Bachelor’s degree.
(Source: New Strategist)
According to baby boomers’ education statistics, nearly a third of the generation has at least a Bachelor’s degree. As is to be expected, this makes them substantially better educated than older Americans (of whom 24.1% have at least a Bachelor’s), but somewhat less educated than Gen Xers (34.6%) and Millennials (34.9%).
Bizarrely, though, baby boomers are actually more likely to have a Master’s degree—8.8% have one, compared to 7.0% of the Silent Generation and 7.9% of millennials. That said, as millennials age, their share of postgraduate students may keep on rising.
Either way, Gen Xers are the most educated for the time being, with 9.3% having attained a Master’s.
12. 90% of baby boomers are married.
(Source: Pew Research)
One major aspect of the baby boomer vs millennial conflict is the two generations’ views on marriage. Whereas 90% of baby boomers are married (or have been married at some point in their lives), only about a third of millennials are.
Of course, millennials are much younger, but baby boomers’ marriage statistics indicate that 49% of them had a spouse when they were 18-33 years old. For comparison, only 28% of millennials in this age range are married.
Furthermore, projections suggest that as many as 25% of millennials will never get married—compared to just 10% of baby boomers and 4% of the Silent Generation (1928–1945).
13. The average baby boomer only has $152,000 in savings.
This baby boomer statistic surprised us, but it has its explanation in the Great Recession, when many people lost out on investments and bonds. As a result, 45% of boomers have no retirement savings whatsoever, and more than a quarter of those who do, only have less than $100,000.
Boomers spend an average $48,885 a year, which means that most of them barely have enough savings to live on for three years. Granted—90% of retirees will receive Social Security benefits, but those are about $1,500 monthly on average.
In other words, everyone except for senior rich baby boomers will probably need to alter their lifestyle significantly in the near future.
14. 59% of baby boomers support their adult children financially.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
Say what you will about baby boomers, but you can’t accuse them of not taking care of their children. A rather heartwarming baby boomer statistic reveals that a majority of boomers support their children financially even after they come of age—and all the way up to 39 years old.
The increasing number of young people still living with their parents most certainly plays a part, as does the fact student debt has continuously increased, making financial matters more difficult for recent graduates.
Fun fact: Students in the US have a combined $1.5 trillion debt, with each student owing around $38,000 on average.
15. Millennials could inherit up to $65 trillion from baby boomers.
A generation will typically bequeath much of its wealth to the next generation, and baby boomers should be no exception.
According to baby boomer wealth statistics, boomers themselves inherited about $14 trillion from the Silent Generation. And, unless they decide to make significant donations to charities, they’ll probably leave their own money to their children.
But with life expectancy getting longer, boomers’ spending habits, and the lack of savings, there may not be much of this wealth left for inheritances—even if baby boomers are the wealthiest generation so far.
Baby Boom Culture
At one point in time, baby boomers constituted nearly half of the American population. So, you can bet they influenced US culture a lot.
And although this is no longer the case, it was also baby boomers who were the primary targets of marketing campaigns for a long time, shaping the country’s economic activities.
Let’s see what baby boomer culture is and how it looks like today.
16. 78% of baby boomers use Facebook.
This baby boomer fact is one you were probably aware of. Most young people nowadays have moved on to more visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, but baby boomers still prefer Facebook.
They’re also quite fond of Pinterest, with 40% of boomers using it compared to 35% of all netizens.
The most popular social media, YouTube, happens to also be equally popular among young and old, with about a 70% adoption rate.
Fun fact: Only 2% of baby boomers use TikTok.
17. Four out of five baby boomers want to visit a new place.
(Source: How Stuff Works)
A popular stereotype about baby boomers is that they’re dead set on their ways and are unwilling to change. In reality, however, this simply isn’t true.
Not only do a majority of boomers make use of the latest technology, but 80% of them say that they are very much interested in exploring new things and places.
18. In 2019, a New Zealand MP said “OK, Boomer” in response to another MP’s comment.
Phrases such as “OK, Boomer” and “Boomer Alert!” have become popular among young people who want to mock older people online. In 2019, though, 25-year-old New Zealand MP Chlöe Swarbrick said “OK, Boomer” in response to another MP who interrupted her speech on climate change.
The funny part here is that her opponent was not actually a boomer, but a Gen Xer. Regardless, she doubled down, claiming that “boomer is a state of mind.”
19. Baby boomers invented many things… and founded Apple.
They’ve been around for a while, so what did baby boomers invent?
Well, most of the technology we use every day, truthfully. Oh, and the internet, too—the Ethernet, and the World Wide Web.
It was also two baby boomers who created Apple, the world’s leading technology company. Steve Jobs (b. 1955) and Steve Wozniak (b. 1950) founded Apple in 1976. Its current CEO, Tim Cook, is also a boomer, born in 1960.
Fun fact: Among boomers’ greatest creations are the portable dialysis machine, synthetic skin products, DNA fingerprinting, and viagra.
Well, that was a lot of trivia about baby boomers. As with any generation—or indeed, any group of people in general—there are good and bad things to say. After all, no one is perfect, much less an entire generation.
We’re pretty sure that while you were reading this collection of stats, you just kept thinking about some of the people in your life. Maybe share a cool baby boomer fact or two with them and see how that goes?
We’ll have more interesting facts here at Web Tribunal waiting for you when you get back.
A wayfarer by heart, Jordan fancies journeying into foreign lands with a camera in hand almost as much as he enjoys roving the online world. He spends his time poking at letters and pixels, trying to transmogrify them into something cool.