On January 1, 2006, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling turned 60 years old. She is the nation's very first Baby Boomer. In many ways, Casey-Kirschling is a microcosm of the Baby Boomer generation. She's been married, divorced and remarried. She has children and grandchildren, and she has carved out a career for herself. In almost every way, Casey-Kirschling is the typical Baby Boomer.
She has also been studied and documented, much like the generation for whom she has become a reluctant spokesperson. No generation has ever been put under the microscope like the Boomers, and mountains of data have been accumulated to enable folks to get a handle on this society-changing generation.
What have we learned?
- There are 78.2 million of them in America, and 50.8 percent of whom are women.
- African-Americans make up 9.8 percent of Baby Boomers, and 8 percent are Hispanic.
- The most common Baby Boomer names are James and Mary.
- There are over 9.8 million Baby Boomers in California, the largest grouping in any one state.
- The only state where Baby Boomers don't count for at least 25 percent of the population is Utah, where they only make up 23 percent of the state.
- By the year 2005, 68.8 percent of Baby Boomers were married, , and another 14.2 percent divorced. The percentage of divorced Baby Boomers is almost twice the rate of their parent's generation (6.7 percent).
- Around 12.6 percent of Baby Boomers have never been married, which is over three times the percentage of their parent's generation who never married (3.9 percent).
- Almost half (48 percent) of all households in the U.S. are headed by Baby Boomers.
- Forty percent of Boomers expect their adult children to move back in with them.
- Thirty percent of Boomers expect their parents to move in with them.
- By the year 2030, Baby Boomers, who will be between the ages of 66 and 84, will make up 20 percent of the population.
But numbers alone can only tell us so much about the Boomers. Next up, we'll take a look at who these people are by their cultural, political, and economic legacies.