Chapter 19 Section 1
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Post-World War II baby boom
As is often the case after a major war, the
end of World War II brought a baby boom to
many countries, notably those in Europe,
Asia, North America, and Australia.
There is some disagreement as to the precise
beginning and ending dates of the post-war
baby boom, but it is most often agreed to
begin in the years immediately after the war,
ending more than a decade later; birth rates
in the United States started to decline in
1957.
Chapter 19 Section 1
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In May 1951, Sylvia Porter, a columnist for the New York
Post, used the term "boom" to refer to the phenomenon
of increased births in post war America. She wrote:
There are an estimated 78.2 million Americans who were
born during this demographic boom in births.
Many experts now believe that two distinct generations
were born during this baby boom; the older generation
is usually called the Baby Boom Generation and the
younger generation is usually called Generation Jones.
Baby Boomers are now middle age and entering senior
years. In the economy, many are now retiring and
leaving the labor force.
Chapter 19 Section 1
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Causes
Before the Baby Boom, there was a period of approximately
20 years in which having children was difficult because of
the effects of the Great Depression and World War II.
The Baby Boom reflected the sudden removal of economic
and social restraints that kept people from starting families.
While austerity and restraint were the norms during the
stress of the war years, after the war, couples reunited and
returned to traditional roles.
Returning (mostly male) soldiers re-entered the workforce;
many women left wartime work to concentrate on childbearing and child-rearing.
Marriage became again a cultural and career norm for most
women, and the result was an increase in the birth rate.
Chapter 19 Section 1
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The boom continued in the economic glow of
the fifties, but dampened its rate as the
recession of 1958 sloughed into the following
recovery.
One theory about the end of the baby boom
is that it fizzled out as the biological capacity
of boomer parents took its course.
The advent of the birth control pill in 1960 in
the U.S. also contributed to the slowing birth
rate, as previous contraceptive methods were
less popular or reliable.
Chapter 19 Section 1
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In the United States alone, approximately 78
million babies were born between those
years.
By the end of the 1940s, about 32 million
babies had been born, compared with 24
million in the 1930s.
In 1954, annual births first topped four
million and did not drop below that figure
until 1965, when four out of ten Americans
were under the age of twenty.
Chapter 19 Section 1
During the war unemployment ended and
the economy greatly expanded;
afterwards the country experienced
vigorous economic growth until the 1970s.
 The G.I. Bill enabled record numbers of
people to finish high school and attend
college.
 This led to an increase in stock of skills
and yielded higher incomes to families.
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Chapter 19 Section 1
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The exact beginning and end of the baby
boom can be debated.
In the United States, demographers usually
use 1946 to 1964, although the U.S. birthrate
began to shoot up in 1941 and to decline
after 1957.
By 1948 the US population increase was
back to the pre-Depression increase rate of
about 1.5% per year.
The five percent "baby boom" increase of
1946 and the trickle into 1947 barely
impacted the US population growth rate
between 1900 and 2004.
Chapter 19 Section 1
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Marriage rates rose sharply in the 1940s and reached all
time highs.
After WWII Americans began to marry at a younger
age,.
The average age of a person at their first marriage
dropped to 22.5 years for males and 20.1 for females,
down from 24.3 for males and 21.5 for females in 1940.
Getting married immediately after high school was
becoming commonplace and women were increasingly
under tremendous pressure to marry by the age of 20.
A common stereotype stated that women were going to
college to earn their M.R.S. (Mrs.) degree.
Chapter 19 Section 1
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Family size-Family size increased sharply
throughout the baby boom.
The average woman bore 3.09 children in
1950 which increased to 3.65 children per
family in 1960, but the peak was in 1957,
when the figure stood at 3.77.
Most couples became pregnant with their first
child within 7 months of their wedding;
between 1940 to 1960, the number of
families with three children doubled and the
number of families having a fourth child
quadrupled.
Chapter 19 Section 1 Quiz
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1.) Name one thing that happened after World
War II?
a.) Russia became an ally
b.) Americas went into the Great Depression
c.) The Baby Boom
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2.) When did World War II end?
a.) 1965
b.) 1914
c.) 1945
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3.) How old are baby boomers today?
a.) In their 60’s
b.) In their 40’s
c.) In their 80’s
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4.) What happened to the U.S. economy after the
war?
a.) The Economy Grew until the 70’s
b.) The Economy Stalled until the 70’s
c.) The Economy fell into a depression until the
70’s
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5.) Approximately how many babies were born
during the Baby boom?
a.) 76,000
b.) 76 Million
c.) 176 Million
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6.) When is the most accepted beginning date for
the Baby Boom?
a.) 1946
b.) 1966
c.) 1956
7.) At what age did Americans start marrying
after WWII?
a.) At the same ages as before
b.) At a later age
c.) At a younger age
8.) At what period in young peoples live did it
become common to get married?
a.) After graduating High School
b.) Before graduating High School
c.) The age of people getting married stayed the
same
9.) What happened to family size during the Baby
Boom?
a.) It stayed the same
b.) Families became smaller
c.) Families become larger
10.) What was a common stereotype of women?
a.) Women were going to college to get their
M.R.S. degree
b.) Women were going to college to be prepared
for the work force after graduation
c.) Women had shown that they were great front
line warriors
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Chapter 19 Section 1 - Guthrie Public Schools