Baby boomers (also known as boomers) are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. There are varying timelines defining the start and the end of this cohort; demographers and researchers typically use starting birth years ranging from the early-to mid-1940s and ending birth years ranging from 1960 to 1964.
The term "baby boomer" is also used in a cultural context, so it is difficult to achieve broad consensus of a precise date definition. Different people, organizations, and scholars have varying opinions on who is a baby boomer, both chronologically and culturally. Some define "baby boomers" as those born between 1946 and 1964.
Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. Many commentators, however, have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America, boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.
As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income; they could therefore reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even "midlife crisis" products. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive.
One feature of the boomers was that they have tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before or that has come afterward. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the changes they were bringing about. This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations, which was a relatively new phenomenon. The baby boom has been described variously as a "shockwave" and as "the pig in the python".
The term "Generation Jones" is sometimes used to describe those born roughly between 1954 and 1964. The term is typically used to refer to the later years of the Baby boomer cohort and the early years of Generation X.