Thank you for a very interesting research assignment! The amount of
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WHO ARE THE BABY BOOMERS?
From the U.S Census Bureau:
"In 2006 - the oldest of the baby boomers, the generation born
between 1946 and 1964, will turn 60 years old. Among the Americans
celebrating their 60th will be our two most recent presidents, George
W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Other well-known celebrities reaching this
milestone include Cher, Donald Trump, Sylvester Stallone and Dolly
Parton. To commemorate this occasion, the Census Bureau has compiled a
collection of facts relating to, perhaps, our most celebrated
* 78.2 million - Estimated number of baby boomers, as of July 1, 2005.
* 7,918 - Number of people turning 60 each day in 2006, according to
projections. That amounts to 330 every hour.
* James & Mary - The most popular baby names for boys and girls,
respectively, in 1946. Today, the names Jacob and Emily lead the list; James
ranks 17th among boys and Mary is 63rd among girls.
* 50.8% - Percentage of women baby boomers in 2005.
* 9.1 million - Estimated number of baby boomers in 2004 who were black. Also,
8.0 million boomers were Hispanic (of any race).
* 32% - Proportion of Alaska?s population that was part of the baby boom
generation, as of the last census. Baby boomers also comprised 30 percent or
more of the population in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. In contrast,
Utah (23 percent) was the only state where baby boomers constituted less
than 25 percent.
* Health - "Average annual expenditures on health care in 2004 for people ages
45 to 54 - the age group that is the heart of the baby boom generation. When
budgeting medical expenses, baby boomers should expect increased health-care
spending as they age; for instance, those age 55 to 64 spent $3,262 and
those 65 and over, $3,899."
See "Oldest Baby Boomers Turn 60!" US Census Bureau. January 3, 2006
* "Since 2000, the number of boomers with at least one college degree has
increased from 32.5 percent or 14.6 million, to 36.3 percent or 19.3
* More than 37 percent earn $50,000 or more, and those with an annual income
of $75,000 or more has increased from 17.8 percent to 22.1 percent.
* Of the 50+ population, 82.3 percent own their own home, compared to 69.2
percent in the general population; 4.3 percent plan to buy a home in the
next two years, and 3 percent expect to pay $30,000 or more for their next
* They are still enjoying life, with 29 percent visiting a gambling casino
during the past year compared to 26.8 percent of all adults, but they have
mellowed: this group of boomers are drinking less beer and more wine that
From "Don't write Baby Boomers off just yet." McCook Daily Gazette.
May 20, 2006. http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1153442.html
The following statistics are from a very lengthy report from the
Harvard School of Public Health - Met Life Foundation:
"Boomers have higher levels of formal education than does the
pre-boom cohort. According to the 2002 Current Population Survey (CPS)
of the U.S. Census, one in three boomers has at least an undergraduate
college degree, compared to one in five persons in the pre-boom
cohort. When those who have at least some college experience are
considered, 58 percent of the boomers fit this description, compared
to 40 percent of those who are older."
"The boomers are also more racially and ethnically diverse than their
elders. According to the 2002 CPS, more than four out of five persons
older than the boomers are white non-Hispanic, compared to three out
of four (74 percent) boomers. The boomers are particularly more likely
than their elders to be Hispanic (10 percent vs. 6 percent) or African
American - non-Hispanic (11 percent vs. 9 percent).
"First Wave" boomers, ages 48 - 57, are in their peak earning years
and have a median household income of $63,426, according to the 2002
CPS. This compares to $61,211 for younger boomers, $48,000 for those
aged 58?64, and $27,512 for those 65+. These median figures mask a
considerable range. One in four boomer households have less than
$35,000 a year in income, and about 10 percent are in poverty. On the
other hand, one-fourth of the boomers have annual household incomes
greater than $95,000."
Marital and Family Status:
"Most boomers (70 percent) are married, but they are more likely than
those older than themselves to be divorced/separated (17 percent vs.
11 percent) or never married (12 percent vs. 5 percent). Conversely,
the baby boom is less likely to be widowed (2 percent vs. 23 percent).
(U.S. Census 2002) Given the tendency toward greater widowhood with
age, coupled with the higher proportions of unmarried boomers, fewer
older boomers will be residing in married households in their older
years compared to the current generation of older persons. Half of all
boomers, and almost two-thirds of younger boomers, have children under
18 living in their household, according to the 2001 CPS. Data from the
AARP boomer retirement surveys of 1998 and 2001 indicate a major
transition currently underway in this regard. In the 1998 survey, 19
percent of boomers reported that their last child had moved out of the
house; three years later that figure rose to 27 percent. Caregiving
responsibilities are also becoming more of a factor for aging boomers.
In AARP?s 1998 boomer retirement survey, 26 percent of boomers
reported caring for an older parent, compared to 34 percent in the
follow-up survey in 2001."
"Boomers are not distributed uniformly across the nation, but tend to
vary by locality (Figure A-1). They tend to be concentrated in
metropolitan areas, as opposed to rural counties. Regionally, they are
more highly concentrated in New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, the
upper Great Lakes states, and the Pacific Northwest, as opposed to the
non-urban South, the Midwest, and the Southwest. This is unlikely to
change dramatically, given that only about 1 in 10 boomers express a
strong preference for moving from their current area of residence to
another, a percentage that has been stable over the past three years."
From "Reinventing Aging." Harvard School of Public Health - MetLife
Foundation Initiative on Retirement and Civic Engagement.
Inequality among the Races
Black baby boomers still earn less:
"Black baby boomers are still earning about 66 percent of what their
non-Hispanic white age peers earn, Duke sociology professors Angela M.
O'Rand and Mary Elizabeth Hughes wrote in "The Lives and Times of the
Baby Boomers," "
"The study found that non-Hispanic white "early" boomers earned a
median of almost $25,000 in 1989 dollars. U.S.-born Hispanic early
boomers earned about 80 percent of that, the study found, but
U.S.-born Asian early boomers earned almost $30,000."
Read "Black Baby Boomers' Income Gap Cited - Study Says That,
Economically, Generation Has Not Improved Over Its Parents,' by Darryl
Fears. Washington Post. December 17, 2004
-- Baby boomers are diverse: Immigration has played a major role in
increasing the diversity of the baby boomers. About 12 percent of the
early boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) are foreign-born, compared
to 15 percent of late boomers (born between 1956 and 1964.) The
percentage of African Americans has not changed a great deal over
time, but the percentage of Hispanic and Asian Americans has increased
-- Diversity has not led to equality: Baby boomers are the first
generation to come of age after the Civil Rights era. Yet the authors
found differences of income according to race, ethnicity and country
of birth so entrenched that, in effect, they are ethnic classes.
Blacks in the boomer generation, for example, are no better off
relative to whites than their parents and grandparents. And
educational levels also are unequal across the baby boom generation,
which is often described as the best-educated generation in history.
-- Many boomers live in poverty: At midlife, boomers have the highest
wage inequality of any recent generation. Late boomers have the
highest levels of poverty since the generation born before World War
I. One in 10 late boomers lives in poverty at middle age.
"What surprised us the most was how racial inequality persists among
the boomers compared to other generations," co-author Angela M. O?Rand
said. "The figures are quite dramatic regarding the continuing
relative disadvantage of African Americans."
Read "As Last of Baby Boomers Turns 40, New Study Debunks Myths About
Celebrated Generation." Duke University News. December 15, 2004
SOME MAJOR TRENDS IN THE BOOMER MARKET
For a very general overview, read the following interview transcript:
Read "Live Talk Transcript: Coming of Age - NEWSWEEK?s Jerry Adler
examined the boomer generation as it heads into its 60s." Newsweek.
BOOMERS LIKE TO REMAIN ACTIVE
Baby boomers are less likely to sit on the couch! Fitness is important to many.
"People 55 and older make up the fastest-growing segment of gym and
health club members, and they now account for about a quarter of all
memberships, according to the International Health, Racquet and amp;
Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the trade association that promotes
See "It's Not Your Daughter's Health Club Anymore," By Kathleen
Doheny. HealthDay Reporter.
Also read "Brand new 60s for baby boomers," By Sally Kalson,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 22, 2006.
RETURNING TO COLLEGE AND SWITCHING CAREERS
Many boomers are returning to college to remain current in their
careers or to switch to a new profession.
Read "Why are "Boomers" in College?" from Thomas Knable
"A new poll conducted March 7-April 11 by Princeton Survey Research
found a majority of boomers were considering new careers and working
well into their retirement years. Among the 1,000 people surveyed
between the age of 50 and 70:
78 percent wanted to help the poor and elderly.
56 percent wanted to work in health care.
55 percent wanted to work in education.
Read "Selfless baby boomers switch careers," By Kevin Corke. June 23, 2005
"Baby boomers are the least content professionally; their job
satisfaction declined the most in the past five years, to less than
47% of boomers from 57%."
From "Why Changing Careers Doesn't Have to Be Painful," By Perri
BOOMERS ARE TAKING TIME TO VOLUNTEER
"David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community
Service, said at the White House Conference, "America?s baby boomers
are an untapped resource of extraordinary proportions. They are the
largest, healthiest, best-educated generation in history - and they
can leave an incredible legacy through service to others."
See "Tapping the Volunteer Power Of Baby Boomers." Dec. 2005
Baby boomers are active online in various ways.
"Q: What role will the Internet play with aging baby boomers?
"Tech-savvy baby boomers, who grew up with television and radio and
adopted cell phones, VCRs, microwave ovens, and computers as they
aged, are set to put their stamp on the Internet as they gray and move
on to a wired retirement. Boomers will be far better connected than
retirees today. Only 17.7 percent of households with members over 50
have Internet access, about half the rate of society at large.
Boomers, by contrast, have about the same Internet usage as Generation
Xers who follow them. Boomers tend to be wealthier and better educated
than generations before them thus leading to a higher Internet usage.
Other potential factors enhancing boomer technology usage include
age-related disability, staying connected to family, loved ones,
children, grandchildren and institutional factors such as the trend to
move government, health care and other services online. Changes in
private institutions such as banks and other commercial services will
most likely have a greater enhancing affect on boomer internet use
than any government-sponsored initiatives."
Read "One Expert's Opinion: Aging Population Will Transform Society,
Says Paul Hodge." Feb. 23, 2004.
Finding maps or directions, phone numbers and addresses, buying
products and seeking political information, and performing
work-related research are some of the major ways boomers use the
"According to Pew's random telephone-based survey of 2,204 adults in
February, 82 percent of boomers - ages 38 to 56 - have used computers,
not far behind the 86 percent for the 18 to 37 age group. The figure
for age 57 and up is 43 percent. Boomers were also almost as heavily
online as younger adults: 68 percent versus 78 percent. By contrast,
only 34 percent of older Americans go online. Among Internet users,
about 85 percent of boomers and younger adults have used the Internet
for maps or directions, compared with 78 percent for seniors.
Fifty-four percent of boomers and 57 percent of younger adults have
looked up phone numbers and addresses online, compared with 47 percent
for seniors. Younger adults and boomers are also alike when it comes
to buying a product online and seeking political information,
according to the study, which has a margin of sampling error of plus
or minus 3 percentage points. Boomers are more likely than younger
adults to use the Internet for work-related research, but less likely
to use instant messaging or check sports scores."
From "Study Shows Baby Boomers Rely On Internet," by Anick Jesdanun
Online activities of baby boomers vs. senior citizens is displayed in
a percentage chart in the following article:
"Here Come the Aging Boomers," By Debra Aho Williamson. May 20, 2005
Online dating and personal ad sites are also popular among boomers!
"The Associated Press recently reported, "Half of all people ages 40
to 69 are either divorced or separated, and 30 percent have never
married. Baby boomers are turning to the Internet, speed dating or the
old fashioned hook-up for companionship." Many dating websites now
report that the over 50 crowd makes up one of the fastest growing
segments in the online dating world."
Read "Why Baby Boomers Are Changing The Face Of Online Dating," By Gary Kelly
"Who is using the personal ads on the Web to find companionship? It?s
not senior citizens. The only age group you are less likely to find
exploring the personal ads on the Web are children from age two to
eleven. Now, Baby Boomers - that is entirely different. The peak users
seem to be around age 45."
* "The most likely visitor was male, about age 45, with an income
between $50,000 and $75,000."
See article for a chart showing the demographic profiles of those
visiting these "dating" Websites.
"Personal Ad Websites Not Drawing Seniors, But Boomers." Senior
Journal. October 2005.
See the Yahoo directory of Boomer sites!
Television still rules!
"Print, radio, television, the Internet. When it comes to Baby
Boomers' media consumption, it seems just about anything goes for this
generation of 78 million Americans. But even in a market so large and
fragmented that it defies the attempts of anyone to make
generalizations, a few broad statements about Boomer media patterns
may be made. For one thing, in an era of increased niche targeting,
television may still be an effective mass medium for reaching Boomers.
For another, as this generation gets older, it appears willing to
embrace new forms of media. "Everything is being accommodated into a
new mix," says Marty Horn, senior vice president of strategic planning
and research at ad agency DDB in Chicago. "Baby Boomer media habits,
formed early on, haven't changed dramatically in terms of television,
radio and print. Baby Boomers have stuck with what they've known over
the years, but they're also embracing the new. It's a matter of 'and'
rather than a matter of 'or.'"
Though Boomers may have the most education of any cohort in American
history, and though they may consume print media at a vociferous rate,
what truly differentiates them from the previous generation is
"This is the first generation to grow up with TV," says Sarah
Zapolsky, senior research advisor at the AARP. "When times were tough
- when Kennedy was assassinated - this generation turned on the
television. The Baby Boom accounts for a huge portion of TV viewers.
Even if you only get 10 percent of Boomers, you're still capturing
about 7.8 million people. It surprises me that the entertainment
industry doesn't cater to them more."
Read "Targeting Boomers - television may still be an effective way to
market to Baby Boomers." American Demographics, March 1, 2003
Music is still big!
"With innovations like the I-Pod and Internet music sites, teens used
to rule music sales. Now, it's their parents who are keeping the music
industry in business."
"Baby boomers have followed some bands like The Rolling Stones from
vinyl to 8-track to cassette to CD. If nothing else, the generation is
loyal to music.
"I'm buying for my son who is five years old and has discovered
disco," said music buyer Rana Faaborg. "I bought him a super funk CD
so he can flail around the house in wild disco dances."
"They're set in their buying habits and patterns. And hopefully, we
can continue counting on them," Fauble said.
See "Baby Boomers Tops For Buying Music." Jan 2005
As the nest empties and they have more leisure time, Boomer movie
attendance is increasing.
"The reason baby boomers are going to the movies more is simply
because they have the time. Many of them are done with - or nearly
done with - shuffling kids to soccer practice and dance recitals. "We
do go to the movies a little more now," said Barbara Rosenthal, 50, of
Houston. "We are empty nesters - that might have something to do with
See "Baby Boomers Go Hollywood - Post-WWII Generation Is Turning Out
For Movies." CBS News. Feb. 19, 2003
USE OF CELL PHONES
"Fully 76% of those in GenX own cell phones and 75% of younger Baby
Boomers own them. Some 68% of GenY and 68% of older Baby Boomers own
cell phones, as do 62% of those over age 60."
From "34 million American adults send text messages on their cell
phones." Pew Internet. 3/14/2005
Boomers make up the largest segment of those buying Health Savings Accounts.
"The HAS provides tax incentives to Americans to put aside funds for
health care, and although they have not really taken off, those that
are joining are baby boomers. The 2005 Insurance Audits says 56
percent of households with an HAS are people between the ages of 40
Read "Health Savings Accounts Not Attracting Many, But Boomers Biggest Buyers."
Boomers expect to live long and healthy lives.
"To say boomers expect to stay young isn't just a figure of speech, it
is a statistically verifiable fact. "Baby boomers literally think
they're going to die before they get old," says J. Walker Smith,
president of Yankelovich Partners, the polling company, which found in
one study that boomers defined "old age" as starting three years after
the average American was dead. People 60 years old today have an
actuarial life expectancy of 82.3, but boomers don't consider
themselves bound by the laws of statistics; they "fully expect that
advances in health care and genomics are going to enable them to live
past 100," says Smith. Presumably they are counting on those advances
to offset the fact that 30 percent of them are obese. "We don't expect
to die - we expect to be cured," says Ross, the Illinois teacher."
"Turning 60 - The generation that vowed to stay forever young is
coming up on a major milestone." Newsweek. Nov. 14, 2005
"Are rising health care costs among the elderly really a bad thing?
Does where you live determine the type of medical care you receive
after you retire? Why do aging women get sicker while aging men die
"Those are just some of the questions experts are trying to answer as
the first wave of Baby Boomers approaches retirement age in 2011.
Rather than rely on their families to care for them in retirement,
researchers say Baby Boomers will face a new set of challenges in
order to stay healthy longer."
"They have fewer children to care for them, and more of their children
are divorced and living at great distances," says Richard Suzman, PhD,
associate director of the behavioral and social research program at
the National Institute on Aging (NIA). "People will have to maintain
their health for longer periods of their life in order to be able to
Read "Boomer Health Care Dilemma." Health Watch. Sept. 29, 2004
Baby Boomers will be behind the drive in healthcare innovation!
"The aging of the baby boomer generation will spur technological
innovation and change the entire health-care system, age researcher
Joseph Coughlin said Friday, speaking at a panel discussion on health
care and technology sponsored by the New England Business and
Technology Association. But that innovation will not come from within
the existing health-care industry and institutions. "Those who are
going to change the system are those who say, 'Why can?t we provide
service from the drug store or even the grocery store? Why do we have
to go to the doctor?s office?'," said Coughlin, director of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology?s Age lab said."
Read "Aging baby boomers will drive health-care innovation. Products
will be developed to serve the "geezer boom," By Johan Bostrom, IDG
News Service. May 13, 2005
BOOMERS ARE CARING FOR AGING PARENTS AND GROWN CHILDREN
At a time when they should be feeling the "freedoms" of an empty nest,
many baby boomers find themselves juggling the emotional and financial
issues involved with caring for older parents and children, often
"As the oldest of the nation?s 75 million baby boomers approach the
age of 60 on January 1, a Pew Research Center survey released last
week finds many are looking ahead to their own retirement while
balancing a full plate of family responsibilities - either raising
minor children or providing financial and other forms of support to
adult children or to aging parents. In the past year, 50% of all
boomers were raising one or more young children and/or providing
primary financial support to one or more adult children, while another
17% whose only children are ages 18 and older were providing some
financial assistance to at least one such child, according to the
"In addition, the survey finds that two-in-ten boomers were providing
some financial assistance to a parent. Few boomers bear all these
responsibilities simultaneously; the survey finds that about 13% are
providing some financial support to a parent at the same time as they
are also either raising a minor child or supporting an adult child."
"However, changing demographics within families have prolonged for
boomers this period of being "sandwiched" between the needs of their
parents and their children."
* See article for a list of major findings from the report.....
Read "Survey Finds Boomers Burdened With Family, Including Aging
Parents." Senior Journal. Dec. 14, 2005
Some baby boomers live with their aging parents while caring for them
and are involved in almost all facets of their lives.
"Thirteen million of the nation's baby boomers are caregivers of sick
parents and deeply involved in every facet of their parents' care,
from diagnosis to treatment, according to a 2005 survey from
Campbell-Ewald Health. Interestingly, the senior citizen parents do
not remember much of that help."
"Surprisingly, 25 percent of boomers now live together with their
parents. For these boomers, the challenges--as well as the rewards--of
caregiving are substantially magnified.'
"Boomers who live with their parents are considerably more involved on
a monthly basis than boomers who do not: pharmacy visits (80%, live
with vs. 37%, don't), reminders to take medication (60%, live with vs.
38%, don't), medication dosing (52%, live with, vs. 13%, don't),
doctor visits (85%, live with vs. 61%, don't), appointment scheduling
(69%, live with vs. 41%, don't), lab visits (65%, live with vs. 26%,
don't) and medical bills (47%, live with vs. 24%, don't)."
"Undeniably, boomers have many concerns about the impact of
caregiving, and as with other survey findings, concerns are even more
intense for those who live with their parents.."
"Thirteen Million Baby Boomers Care for Ailing Parents, 25% Live with
Parents." Senior Journal. October 2005
Boomerang kids return:
"Although Boomers like the idea of the Empty Nest, their "alone time"
may not last long. In fact, 25 percent anticipate their adult children
will move back in with them. Of Boomers polled, 15 percent have grown
children who already returned to the nest. Called "boomerang kids,"
this is a growing social phenomenon."
Also read "Baby Boomers Reclaim Independence in the Empty Nest but
Many Expect Parents to Move In or Kids to Come Back." Senior Journal.
June 29, 2004
LIFESTYLE, BELIEFS, ETC.
Boomers are more relaxed when it comes to love and romance!
"As the oldest boomers turn 60 this year, more of them are single than
any previous cohort of forty- to sixtysomethings, reports Senior
Editor Barbara Kantrowitz. And while this generation's search for love
and relationships is anything but new, what has changed is how they
meet, why they date and how society responds.
"A generation ago, older singles were out of the game, but now,
boomers are flaunting their sexuality. "It's a situation of enjoying
what's there," says Helen Gurley Brown, whose 1962 book "Sex and the
Single Girl" ushered in a new era of openness about women and desire.
"Though single boomers are having sex regularly, only 39 percent
invariably use protection, according to the AARP study. "To me, those
are pretty alarming figures," says Linda Fisher, AARP's research
director. Many boomers just don't have a sense of danger about sex.
They came of age before the HIV epidemic and never learned how to
negotiate condom use or testing with their partners. The number of new
HIV infections among older women is rising rapidly: between 1998 and
2000, women's share of AIDS cases among those 50 and older nearly
doubled, from 8.9 percent to 15 percent.
See "Boomers Changing How Older People View Sex, Romance, says
Newsweek." Senior Journal Feb. 13, 2006
Baby boomers display more tolerance of interracial dating than their parents.
"In the oldest generation (those reaching adulthood during WWII) only
50% expressed this view. Those born between 1928 and 1945, the
pre-boomers, were more tolerant, with 60% agreeing mixed-race dating
is acceptable. Edging up to the boomers, however, those born 1946
through 1964, the acceptance level is at 77% - slightly above the
"Senior Citizens Lack Tolerance of Young for Mixed-Race Dating - Baby
Boomer approval is right above the national average at 77 percent."
Senior Journal. March 20, 2006
Boomers feel inheriting a "family legacy" - memories, traditions,
history - is as valuable as inheriting money.
"Many people wrongly assume the most important issue among families is
money and wealth transfer it's not," said Dr. Ken Dychtwald, president
of Age Wave. "This national survey found that for the overwhelming
majority, legacy transfer has to do with deeper, more emotional
issues. An inheritance focuses primarily on the money, but a true
legacy also includes memories, lessons and values you teach to your
children over a lifetime."
* Elders (22 percent) are seven times more likely than boomers (3
percent) to believe they owe their children an inheritance.
* The majority of the nation's baby boomers (68 percent) and those
surveyed from their parents' generation (71 percent) say they feel
highly confident discussing key elements of inheritance and legacy
planning issues, yet only around one third (29 percent) of baby
boomers and elders (31 percent) have actually done so with their own
* Non-financial leave-behinds - like ethics, morality, faith and
religion - are 10 times more important to both boomers and elders with
children than the financial aspects of a legacy transfer.
* Fulfilling last wishes and distributing personal possessions were
five times more likely to be the greatest source of family conflict
during a legacy transfer than the distribution of finances according
to boomers whose parents are not alive.
Read "Research Finds Huge 'Legacy Gaps' In Baby Boomers and Parents'
Views of Inheritance - For baby boomers, the bucks stop here, Allianz
study finds." July 27, 2005.
How do Boomers feel about the "empty nest?" Most are enjoying their new freedom.
"The 2004 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey reveals these findings about
Boomers and the Empty Nest:
-- 71 percent say parenting was a wonderful experience, but it wasn't easy;
roughly 19 percent admit it was more challenging than they expected.
-- 58 percent are emotionally prepared for the kids to leave the house.
-- 57 percent feel an increased freedom to be themselves.
-- 26 percent felt "like a newlywed once again" after the kids left home for
-- 36 percent will move to a new home when they become Empty Nesters.
-- 26 percent are considering purchasing a home in an age-qualified active
-- 25 percent expect their adult children to move back in with them at some
point; but 28 percent plan to make those children pay rent.
-- 31 percent had no debt associated with their children when the kids left
-- Disposable income increased for 67 percent of Boomers after they became
Empty Nesters; 60 percent plan to save the new-found wealth, and about half
plan to spend it traveling.
Read "Baby Boomers Reclaim Independence in the Empty Nest but Many
Expect Parents to Move In or Kids to Come Back." Senior Journal. June
WHERE DO BOOMERS WANT TO LIVE?
While they used to head to Florida and Arizona, baby boomers are now
searching for smaller towns, locales with an abundance of outside
activities, and, in some cases, the place where they spent their
childhood! Active adult communities are also popular as baby boomers
begin to enjoy the "empty nest" and they are influencing the way
buiders do business! For some, home might even be an RV!
"Instead of beating paths to Florida and Arizona, aging boomers
already are opting for unconventional, far-flung U.S. locations,
primarily in the South and West."
"This year is the beginning of an 18-year demographic bulge in which
about 4 million people - 20 percent more than in previous years - will
leave their full-time jobs each year and either stay put or purchase a
retirement home somewhere else. Economists predict that at least
400,000 boomers a year - with an average of $320,000 to spend on a new
home - will choose greener pastures beyond their state borders."
"At stake is $2.3 trillion in annual spending power - more than half
of total U.S. consumption - held by a diverse crowd of highly educated
retirees who are more likely than their parents to relocate later in
See what some states are doing to attract these new retirees........)
Read "Eying Boomer Bonanza, States Woo Retirees." Senior Journal. March 7, 2006
Back to the old hometown?
"Respondents over 45 years old with college educations are looking
favorably at their hometowns as relocation options. The data show
numerous qualities of America?s hometowns that make them a viable
relocation option for baby boomers. It also shows that as many as 35
percent of individuals in this age group would like to start a
business in their hometowns (see Figure 2)."
"Returning baby boomers represent a significant cultural and economic
resource for small towns. Technology-savvy respondents see
opportunities for continued education, staying close to family and
friends and holding leadership positions among the benefits their
hometowns can provide. Some even see opportunities to grow and advance
Read "Baby Boomers May Be Eyeing Hometowns," by Mark Keillor. March-April 2004
Vol. 5, No. 2 http://www.incontext.indiana.edu/2004/mar-apr04/workforce.html
Active adult communities are popular among baby boomers whose children
have "flown the coop." They are influencing the way builders
Builders are bending to the influence of boomers as they develop
active adult communities.
"According to the National Association of Home Builders? 50+ Housing
Council, the baby boomer generation is shaking up the housing
industry, and builders are responding with big changes. Speaking at
Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium 2006 in Phoenix,
Ariz., industry experts claim that to attract boomer buyers, the
industry is discarding old notions about the "retirement lifestyle"
and allowing buyers to create their own distinct communities."
"With America?s 50+ population hitting 100 million by the year 2010,
the building industry has developed a strong awareness of the
importance of this segment of the market," said Norman Cohen,
chairperson of the 50+ Housing council and a principal at
Camelot/Signature Development of Marietta, Ga. "The baby boomer
generation has changed the ways builders do business - homeowners are
no longer looking for the traditional retirement communities - they
want to live somewhere where they can remain active."
"The baby boom generation increasingly prefers to be able to "age in
place" or continue living in their homes safely, independently and
comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. Unlike the
generations before them, boomers don?t want to "get away from it all,"
said Howe. They want to be near cultural and spiritual hubs that keep
them connected with community and culture and involved in lifelong
learning at local universities.
Read "Baby Boomers Are Changing The Way Builders Do Business."
National Association of Homebuilders. May 15, 2006
Downsizing to an RV!
"Russ and Jean Glines have picked the theme music to herald their
transition from living in a 3,000-square foot country club home to
full-time roadies in a 400-square foot recreational vehicle. The
Glines, 43-year-old mortgage brokers, are among a growing number of
Baby Boomers who have pushed the number of RV owners to record levels,
including some who hit the road full time while continuing to pursue
"Baby Boomers, technology drive RV sales - No longer for those fleeing
work, they are homes and home offices." May 23, 2006.
Also read "Baby Boomer Survey Shows Big Appetite for Real Estate."
National Association of Realtors. US Newswire. 5/18/2006
Many baby boomers would like to continue working past the traditional
"retirement age." Self-employment is becoming another option for
remaining in the workforce if employers don't step up to the plate.
"On the heels of AARP research saying older workers are turning to
self-employment, a new study says one out of three older workers would
continue working longer if their employer offered a phased retirement
"Worker attitudes about retirement are changing dramatically, and
employers have some catching up to do," said Janemarie Mulvey,
assistant director of Watson Wyatt's Research & Information Center and
one of the study's authors. "We found that a significant gap exists
between what older workers are looking for and the opportunities
employers provide. For example, a majority of survey participants
would like to work fewer hours late in their careers, but less than
half of them expect their employer to offer this opportunity."
Read "Older Workers Would Delay Retirement If Employers Offered
Phasing." Senior Journal. March 2004.
Going out on their own:
"Last week AARP released a study showing many older workers are
joining the self-employed and they conclude some are "pushed" and some
are "pulled," but the trend is clear.
"About 10.2 percent of the overall workforce, or 13.8 million workers,
are self-employed. But the study finds that among workers aged 50 and
older, 16.4 percent - 5.6 million workers - are self-employed. And
about one in three of those workers made the transition to
self-employment after age 50, according to the AARP Public Policy
Read "Older Workers Increasingly Turn to Self-Employment." Senior
Journal. March 2004
Many boomers will continue to work. What issues need to be addressed?
Read "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth
Among Younger Baby Boomers: Recent Results From a Longitudinal Survey
Summary." Bureau of Labor Statistics.
August 25, 2004 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/nlsoy.nr0.htm
"Baby boomers have a higher rate of homeownership than the national
average and one out of four own more than one property, according to a
new study of the largest generation in U.S. history commissioned by
the National Association of Realtors(r). Initial results were released
here today at NAR's Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
The comprehensive study of nearly 2,000 Americans born between 1946
and 1964, conducted for NAR by Harris Interactive(r), also shows
boomers are optimistic about the future, but many are not adequately
prepared for retirement."
"David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said marketing to this
generation has been and can be a challenge. "As a group, boomers are
in their peak earning years and continue to wield great influence in
the U.S. economy, but they are not homogeneous -- there are
significant variances in needs, behavior, attitudes and resources," he
said. "On one hand is an almost insatiable desire for real estate,
with some owning multiple properties, and on the other, many have not
adequately planned for retirement. What should not be overlooked are
the discretionary spending interests of this generation, and their
appreciation of housing as a great investment."
See "The Business Case for Workers Age 50+: Planning for Tomorrow's
Talent Needs in Today's Competitive Environment." Research Report. A
report for AARP by Towers Perrin. December 2005
Are boomers ready for retirement? Many of them have little in savings
and are fearful that they will outlive their money.
"Many Baby Boomers are apparently planning to play catch-up with their
retirement savings later in life instead of making regular deposits
now, putting their retirement plans at risk, according to "Beyond
Behavior: Why Boomers Underfund Retirement," a new survey released by
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) today.
"A number of recent studies have shown that many Boomers have great
expectations for their imminent retirements, but have not set aside
money to pay for it. Very few studies, however, have tapped into the
field of behavioral finance to understand why Boomers find themselves
in this predicament."
"We found that Baby Boomers are in a state of financial paralysis.
They don't know how much to save and they don't understand some basic
financial principles such as compound interest and adequate returns,
so they are doing nothing," said Dr. Frank Murtha, a behavioral
finance expert and business professor at New York University and
managing member of Frank Murtha Associates LLC."
"BABY BOOMERS ARE IN "STATE OF PARALYSIS" ABOUT SAVING FOR
RETIREMENT." The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. October
"For the developers of active adult communities, the 78 million baby
boomers who are fast approaching their mature years are likely to
provide some formidable challenges, according to speakers at last
month?s "Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium" in
Phoenix. For a start, the vast majority of them aren?t planning on a
traditional retirement, don?t want to move far from their existing
home and don?t have the financial means to be able to live without a
"Baby boomers are responsible for half of all discretionary spending
in the country today and have annual discretionary income of $750
billion, said LeRoy Hanneman, CEO of Element Homes and former
president and CEO of Del Webb Corporation, "yet too many are
unprepared financially for retirement."
"Only one in four of the boomers has invested assets of more than
$100,000, one in three has less than $50,000 and by the time they
reach retirement age, only one out of every two will have accumulated
enough money to be able to support their current standard of living,
"Nearly one out of two boomers believe they will outlive their money,"
he said, "although that is a common fear among seniors." Nevertheless,
"there are interesting adjustments to be made."
Read "Financial Realities to Hit Retirement-Age Baby Boomers."
Nation's Building News.
See "COMPARING BOOMERS? AND THEIR ELDERS? WEALTH AT MIDLIFE." John
Gist. AARP Public Policy Institute. 2005
"Comparing the Retirement Savings of the Baby Boomers and Other
Cohorts," by Sharon A. DeVaney and Sophia T. Chiremba. U.S. Dept. of
Labor. Revision Posted: March 16, 2005.
"It's All Relative - Understanding the Retirement Prospects of Baby
Boomers," by Barbara Butrica, Howard Iams, Karen E. Smith. Urban
Institute November 30, 2003.
See Executive Summary...
(For full report, go to http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411127_all_relative.pdf
TRAVEL AND LEISURE
Boomers like to travel!
* "Compared to 20 years ago when they were ages 21 to 39, a greater
percentage of boomers today have a passport (10 percent in 1985 vs. 28
percent in 2005).
* "Where less than five percent of boomers traveled to Europe (4
percent), Mexico, Central America or South America (4 percent) or the
Caribbean (4 percent) 20 years ago, nearly double that many boomers
have traveled to international destinations; 14 percent to Mexico,
Central America or South America; 10 percent to the Caribbean. and 7
percent to Europe.
* "A majority of boomers consider themselves adventurous (55 percent)
and 77 percent consider their own travel experiences more adventurous
than their parents'.
"2005 Travel & Adventure Report: A Snapshot of Boomers? Travel &
Adventure Experiences Research Report," BY Curt Davies, AARP Knowledge
Management. October 2005.
Vacation homes are on the rise.
"America's suburban families are growing up - and out. As baby boomers
say good-bye to their adult children, this career-driven segment of
society is rediscovering leisure time. The trend of swapping their
city apartments (originally purchased as relief from killer commutes)
with like-minded travel-bugs worldwide, has been on the rise..." Helen
Bergstein, founder of the Digsville Home Exchange Club says,
"secondary/vacation home listings have been increasing every year and
now comprise over 20% of the Digsville database."
"Baby Boomers and Empty Nesters Take Their Wealthy Inner Children on
Vacation." 16 May 2006
MARKETING AND PRODUCTS FOR THE BOOMERS
When marketing, remember the diversity among baby boomers!
"Jerry Benston is in his mid-50s, African- American, and a baby
boomer. While in college in Oshkosh, Wis., in 1968, he participated in
a protest to make his university more culturally diverse. He counts
himself among those boomers who helped to raise awareness about
important social issues of the day. But almost 40 years later, he
points to advertising and other media aimed at boomers that often
include only a token black - which to him is not an accurate
reflection of people born between 1946 and 1964."
"It's better today than it was, say, 15 years ago," says Mr. Benston.
"But ... it seems to me there could be a lot more room for inclusion."
"Marketers are already honing their pitches to try to reach particular
segments of the boomers - such as those in their late 40s and early
50s whose kids are leaving the nest. But some findings in the Duke
report, which is based on census data from 2000 and earlier, suggest
more fine-tuning across cultural lines may be needed."
Read "The many faces of the baby boomers," By Kim Campbell. The
Christian Science Monitor
Don't forget women, either!
"Riding growing interest by marketers in the Boomer women market,
Imago Creative has announced expansion of its scope, services and
location. The only marketing firm in the country that specializes
exclusively in this lucrative demographic, Imago has appointed public
relations veteran Carol Orsborn, Ph.D. to head the company's new PR
"Marketers are rapidly waking up to the fact that the more than 40
million women of the Baby Boom generation comprise not only the
largest, but the single-most lucrative segment of the female
population. Women represent more than $3.7 trillion in consumer
spending in our country alone," says Imago President, Mary Brown.
Read "Imago Creative Rides Growth of Boomer Women Market." The Mature Market.
Despite their age, life stages can vary for boomers. Products of
interst are all over the map! Forget numbers when marketing to them.
"Exactly how they plan to spend the years from 60 to 100 is of
consuming interest to the cottage industry devoted to gazing into
boomers' navels for them. Extrapolating from history is not very
useful. "They've lived a cyclical life," says consultant Matt
Thornhill, president of the Boomer Project, contrasting it to the
"linear life" of their parents' generation, a straight line from
college to office to the golf course. "Just knowing their age doesn't
tell you what life stage they're at. They reinvent themselves every
three to five years. A boomer could be a brand-new dad, or a
grandparent." This "life stage" concept is the latest buzzword in
consulting. "If you're marketing to boomers, you should start staying
away from age," says Jim Gilmartin, president of Coming of Age, Inc.
"Some boomers are new dads at 59."
Read "From "Turning 60." Newsweek. Nov. 14, 2005
Develop products that can "ease them into old age."
"Throughout their lives, baby boomers have dominated the marketplace.
The generation of 78 million consumers born from 1946 to 1964 once
made hula hoops a hit. As teens, boomers bought cheap stereos and
compact cars. In middle age, they snapped up camcorders, computers and
mutual funds. Now, with a boomer turning 50 every seven seconds,
researchers and marketers are developing everything from simple
gadgets to complex computer systems to ease a generation into old
"Gadgets help baby boomers navigate old age," By Fred Bayles, USA TODAY. 11/17/2003
Boomers are sophisticated shoppers with disposable income.
"Sophisticated is the most fitting word to describe this group of
consumers, according to Jackman and Andrew Gallici, creative director
of the brand strategy and design company, Watt International. This
level of sophistication comes from a variety of areas including
knowledge, which Jackman attributed to a combination of life
experience and education. Both Jackman and Gallici said knowledge
makes baby boomers more privy to what they are purchasing because they
know what they want; they will take the time to make sure they get it,
and they have the money to invest in the best of the best."
"Jackman explained the disposable income of baby boomers is greater
than that of other demographics because it stems from three main
sources: higher levels of income, inheritance and, in many cases,
children that are grown and financially independent. "Those three
things are lining up and giving them discretionary spending abilities
like never before," said Jackman. Gallici agreed. "They have a lot of
money to part with and they'll part with it generally if they're not
frustrated to hell with the retailer."
"The interesting thing about baby boomers is that they have been very
brand loyal historically," noted Jackman. However, the advent of stiff
competition generated by big box retail chains and bulk and discount
outlets is seeing an otherwise faithful group of consumers part with
their otherwise loyal ways. This does not imply that winning the
repeat business of a baby boomer is impossible, it simply means it
requires more effort and creativity than ever before. "We have to
defend against loyalty becoming just an absence of a better option and
give something to consumers that they cannot get anywhere else," said
"SOPHISTICATED SHOPPERS: Selling to the baby boomer generation is as
demanding as it is lucrative," by Denyse Johnson.
Also read "With the aging of the baby boomers we?re moving into
uncharted territory." The Mature Market. 03-05-2006
Marketing to African American baby boomers:
"In sheer numbers, black Boomers may be smaller than their white
counterparts. But for marketers, they are a giant, untapped
Read "The Forgotten Baby Boom - Baby Boom generation," by Alison
Stein Wellner. American Demographics, Feb, 2001
Some marketing strategy information:
Let?s look at key factors to keep in mind when marketing to boomers:
* Forget the gimmicks. Steer clear of offers that are too good to be
true. Boomers will not only see right through the gimmicks - they will
be insulted that you thought they?d fall for them.
* Soft sell the product: "It?s all about me!" If you want to create an
effective campaign, remember one critical thing: it?s not all about
the product, it?s all about the boomer consumer and what the product
can do for them.
* Understand boomers. "Boomers want marketers to understand them. If
you give them the information they need, you will increase their
interest in your product or service. Show boomers that you understand
them, and you will be rewarded with an enjoyable experience during
every stage of your relationship."
* Provide solid information. "Boomers want worthwhile information so
they can make educated decisions on their own. Don?t coddle the boomer
buyer. Provide them with all the pieces necessary for them to make the
right decision ? buying from you!
* R-E-S-P-E-C-T! "Boomers tell us they want our respect, our attention
and our good manners. Don?t forget, boomers are used to the world
revolving around them. One bad experience will turn a boomer off
forever, and they will definitely tell their friends and family about
* Earn their trust. "Earn their trust and you?ll earn their business.
Studies have found that boomers are very brand loyal so earning their
trust pays future dividends, especially with referrals.
* Make them feel like winners. "Boomers grew up expecting to be
winners, and they respond to products and services they perceive as
* Mix it up - in the community that is. "Boomers value
intergenerational communities. Whenever possible do not age qualify.
In a small community - 200 or fewer homes - boomers are more inclined
to purchase if there are younger professionals residents. So don?t be
afraid to mix it up.
* In a larger planned community, age qualification is okay as long as
there is diversity throughout the larger master planned neighborhood.
Don't Ignore Boomer Women
"In addition to these factors there is one significant group that is
largely ignored by marketers ? boomer women. Given that the boomer
generation is the first to produce financially independent women,
ignoring boomer women makes no sense.
From "Marketing to Win the Baby Boomers' Business." Nations' Building
News Online. http://www.nbnnews.com/NBN/issues/2005-07-04/Sales+and+Marketing/3.html
Read "Current Assessment Report (CAR) for the Baby Boomer Market."
National Tour Association. January 2002
"Selling To Baby Boomers? Power Charge Your Sales By Segmenting This
Huge Group," By Joanne Fritz, Ph.D.
You may have to resort to ordering some materials on marketig as
little information is available online.
Marketing Across the Generations: Baby Boomers
"Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers: Perceptions, Principles,
Practices, Predictions," by Brent Green.
Order the Boomer Marketing Report from the Boomer Project:
"The Boomer Marketing Report, not yet published in full, tracks
changes in those attitudes, especially among older Boomers, those over
50. Traditionally, marketers have focused their efforts on the 18-49
demographic and ignored those over 50. With half of the 78 million
Boomers now 50 and older, the numbers are too large to ignore."
An upcoming seminar:
"New Rules for Marketing and Selling To Baby Boomers." 2006-06-23 Atlanta
"Consultive Selling and Baby Boomers.
I hope I have provided you with enough information to gain some good
insight into the Boomer market. Thanks again for a most interesting
about baby boomer
statistics OR demographics AND baby boomers
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The Lives and Times of the Baby Boomers
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percent OR percentage baby boomers college degree
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