Babies, Babies, and More Babies: Historical Photos From the 1940s and 1950s Show How Huge the Baby Boom Was

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The term “Baby Boom” is used to identify a massive increase in births following World War II. Baby boomers are those people born worldwide between 1946 and 1964, the time frame most commonly used to define them. There are about 76 million boomers in the U.S., representing about 29 percent of the population. In Canada, they are known as “Boomies;” six million reside there. In Britain, the boomer generation is known as “the bulge.”

World War II ended in 1945. Most members of the armed forces came home en masse, numbering in the millions. To integrate millions of young veterans into the American economy, the 78th Congress passed the GI Bill of Rights on June 22, 1944. It was the most far-reaching item of veterans legislation passed in the nation’s history. VA loans for homes and farms were made available to GIs at low interest rates, and low or no down payment. In addition, the GI Bill made higher education a reachable goal with low-interest loans.

The first baby boomers reached the standard retirement age of 65 in 2011. Today, members of the baby boomer generation are just beginning to leave the labor force and enter retirement.

A staff nurse greets some new arrivals at the Queen Charlotte Hospital in London. Jan. 25, 1945.

Nurses hold babies in a maternity ward at Guy’s Hospital, London. Dec. 1, 1947.

Infants and toddlers in an orphanage in post-war Japan, c.1948.

An overcrowded dining hall at Walsgrave Colliery School near Coventry, England filled by children of the post war baby boom, 1952.

A crowd of schoolchildren in the playground of Walsgrave Colliery School near Coventry, England, 1952.

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