Baby boomers (also known as boomers) are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The Baby Boom generation is most often defined as those individuals born between 1946 and 1964.
In Western Europe and North America, boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up during a period of increasing affluence due in part to widespread post-war government subsidies in housing and education. As a group, baby boomers were wealthier, more active and more physically fit than any preceding generation and were the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that reached peak levels of income in the workplace and could, therefore, enjoy the benefits of abundant food, clothing, retirement programs, and even "midlife-crisis" products. But, this generation also has been criticized often for its increases in consumerism which others saw as excessive.
The boomers have tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from preceding and subsequent generations. In the 1960s and 1970s, as a relatively large number of young people entered their late teens—the oldest turned 18 in 1964—they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort and the changes brought about by their size in numbers. 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".