THE BABY BOOM
During the Great Depression the marriage rate fell as uncertainty over economic conditions caused people to postpone decisions that would significantly affect their lives. Birthrates also dropped: pessimism shrouded Americans' expectations of a promising future for themselves and their children. After World War II ended, however, prospects seemed considerably brighter. Young Americans returned home from war in 1945 ready to reap the benefits of victory and a prospering economy. Accordingly, there were almost 2.3 million marriages in 1946, an increase ...view middle of the document...
Experts were divided as to the potential effects of the baby boom. During the 1950s economists frequently pointed to the growing population as a safeguard against economic stagnation. Each new birth represented new demands for food, clothing, and toys. Babies were the potential market for eight hundred dollars in products in their first year. Toy sales that year reached $1.25 billion, and diaper services were a $50-million business. The American Seating Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a major supplier of school furniture, tripled its business in the thirteen years following the end of World War II. Clearly, each little bundle of joy was also a blessing to American businessmen. Educators warned of coming teacher and classroom shortages--crowded schools overwhelmed the educational system throughout the decade. Greater amounts of public money were needed for education, health care, and other social services. (Thomson Gale)
Today there are about three young people for every senior. By 2020, the ratio will be even more frightening. This will have profound consequences on our entire society. Demographic changes will have a major impact on the ratio of retirees to workers; the ratio of the number of people ages 65 and over to the number ages 20 to 64 is expected to grow from about 20% in 1997 to 41% in 2050. With so few people...