Jul 262011

This is the 1st of a 2-part attack on some myths about the baby boom and the impact of baby boomers:
Part 1: This article: The myth of the UK baby-boom
Part 2: The myth of a baby-boom-led housing crisis

“Everyone” knows that the UK has a baby-boom. “Everyone” knows that it began just after the end of World War 2. “Everyone” knows that it continued for perhaps 15 or 20 years, creating a huge cohort that massively influenced UK policy, causing problems for the following generations.

David Willetts wrote “The Pinch: how the baby boomers took their children’s future – and why they should give it back“. Near the start he identifies what he is talking about: “The boomers, roughly those born between 1945 and 1965 …” There are a number of other books on the topic of the baby-boom generation, and there have been many articles in the media. The baby-boom influences government policy, for example on pensions and long-term care of the elderly.

But anyone who believes all of that is wrong! There isn’t a baby-boom that started just after the war and continued for many years afterward. People haven’t bothered to look at the details of birth rates in the post-war period, or else ignore the facts that shout out from graphs. The truth would be inconvenient for those wanting a simplistic reason for any inter-generational financial incompatibilities we see in the UK.

Others have spotted the myth. For example:


Here is an extract from “The UK population: past, present and future“, figure 1.13 on page 11. I show just the females, but the numbers for males are about the same. I have rotated it and added some text for clarity. It isn’t showing the numbers of births for each year; it is showing the people who survived until 2004. So the actual birth-rate was a little higher for the older population, but some didn’t survive until 2004. (A very useful animation to study this is now available).

Population pyramid for surving females

The conventional theory, as stated by David Willetts but also assumed by many others, is that the baby boomers were born from about 1945 to about 1965, although there are variations on the finish date for the boom. Here is the David Willetts version:

David Willets baby boom

This illustrates the blind spot of so many commentators: they know that a baby-boom started in about 1946, but haven’t applied logic to the final date. This is because they think there is “a baby-boom”. If they adopt a final date of 1965 (or earlier) they are ignoring a huge boom still occurring between about 1965 and 1974. But let’s examine the theory that there are 2 totally independent baby-booms nearly a generation apart!

Two baby-boom theory

This picture saves me writing a 1000 words, and saves you reading them! Now let’s think about the vast differences between the 2 baby-booms.

Baby boom 1: about 1946 to 1949

Everyone agrees with the reason for this short spike in the birth-rate, and everyone is right. (My parents met during the war when serving in the RAF, and I was born in 1947).

Europe was devastated. The Marshall Plan to remedy this began in 1948 and finished in 1952. Rationing was still in force, and gradually ceased between the 2 booms. (Except for Suez!) The mind-set of the parents typically included “austerity” and “uncertainty about the future”. This had an effect on the early lives of many of the children concerned (including me).

The retirement of this cohort has a special characteristic: the females reached State Pension Age, which is also the default retirement age,  5 years before the males. For females the dates are about 2006 to 2009. For males the dates are about 2011 to 2014. So the effect of this boom on retirement and state pension claims was spread over a period about twice as long as the boom itself.

Baby boom 2: about 1955 to about 1974

The reasons for this boom were nothing to do with the war. The UK was gaining confidence in the future. (1957 was the date of Macmillan’s “You’ve never had it so good” speech). This was the period just before, during, and after the swinging 60s. “Austerity” (rationing and far more besides) was over before 1960. The mid-set of the parents was correspondingly typically very different from that of the parents of baby-boom 1, and the children grew up in a different world from that of baby-boom 1.

The Pill became available (in the UK) to married women in 1961, and to unmarried women in 1964. The 1967  Abortion Act allowed abortion in special circumstances. Presumably these all influenced the fall in the birth-rate in the last half of this baby-boom.

The women in this cohort (born after 1953) have the same State Pension Age and default retirement age as the men. This  cohort will start claiming State Pensions  about 2020, this process will peak about 2030, and fall away by about 2040.


Anyone who wants to understand the generational history of the UK since the war needs to recognize the existence of 2 baby-booms, not just 1.  It is sloppy to claim “the baby boomers took their children’s future – and … they can give it back”. Many of the cohort of baby-boom 2 had parents who are in the cohort of baby-boom 1! It is useful to think of the two cohorts as separate generations, although since the peaks are only 19 years apart, these generations actually overlap. (And there are arguments that there are more recent baby-booms!)

This is especially important when examining the “inter-generational conflict” implied by the Davis Willetts statement above, (the subtitle of his book), which reflects what a lot of other people think. When examining housing wealth, pension wealth, the impact of retirement and old-age care, the cohorts must be treated separately. Otherwise invalid conclusions will be drawn, and proposals to remedy any problems will be less effective.

I think the cohort of baby-boom 1 are typically more cautious about the future than that of baby-boom 2. I am in the first cohort, and I don’t think I took anyone’s future.

See also

  117 Responses to “The myth of the UK baby-boom”

  1. buy pregabalin generic – lyrica 150mg cost lyrica 75mg oral

  2. order clomid 100mg generic – ventolin pills zyrtec 10mg tablet

  3. order desloratadine – buy desloratadine 5mg cost aristocort 10mg

  4. buy misoprostol online cheap – prednisolone 40mg price order synthroid 100mcg pills

  5. order sildenafil 100mg pills – cost of viagra 100mg neurontin 600mg cost

  6. brand cialis – cheap cialis for sale cenforce medication

  7. order diltiazem online cheap – acyclovir 800mg for sale zovirax 800mg without prescription

  8. purchase hydroxyzine – buy atarax generic crestor 10mg pills

  9. zetia tablet – buy domperidone 10mg sale celexa tablet

  10. viagra without prescription – sildenafil next day delivery flexeril 15mg us

  11. brand name viagra – buy cialis pills order cialis 20mg pills

  12. order toradol 10mg for sale – purchase baclofen generic brand baclofen 25mg

  13. buy colchicine 0.5mg – cheap colchicine 0.5mg strattera pills

  14. sildenafil 150mg canada – cheap sildenafil online brand clopidogrel 150mg

  15. order sildenafil 100mg without prescription – sildenafil on line viagra pills

  16. brand esomeprazole 20mg – purchase phenergan generic purchase promethazine without prescription

  17. cialis price walmart – Free trial of cialis cialis 10mg tablet

  18. cheap modafinil – purchase modafinil sale ed pills that work quickly

  19. buy accutane 40mg pill – amoxicillin 250mg cost order zithromax 250mg generic

  20. furosemide 100mg for sale – order viagra 50mg for sale buy viagra for sale

  21. buy cialis 5mg sale – buy cialis canada viagra 150mg cost

  22. cheap tadalafil sale – purchase warfarin online cheap buy coumadin online cheap

  23. order topamax online cheap – order topiramate online order imitrex generic

  24. avodart 0.5mg drug – cialis from india cialis for daily use

  25. sildenafil 50mg drug – sildenafil overnight delivery tadalafil 10mg drug

  26. buy ed pills online – buy prednisone 20mg sale order prednisone 40mg sale

  27. buy isotretinoin 40mg without prescription – cheap amoxil 250mg order amoxicillin 500mg sale

  28. furosemide 100mg price – order lasix 40mg pills azithromycin over the counter

  29. That’s a great point

  30. purchase doxycycline for sale – generic hydroxychloroquine 200mg brand chloroquine

  31. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful information particularly the last part :) I care for
    such information a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  32. Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site, as i want enjoyment, for the reason that this this web page
    conations truly pleasant funny stuff too.

  33. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful
    & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

  34. Thanks for every other excellent article. Where else
    could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect method of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such information.

  35. If some one wishes expert view concerning blogging then i advise
    him/her to pay a quick visit this web site, Keep up
    the fastidious work.

  36. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.

    The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following.

    unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield
    this increase.

  37. Excellent, what a web site it is! This website provides valuable facts to us, keep it up.

  38. That’s a great point

  39. tadalafil 5mg brand – Cialis visa buy viagra 150mg

  40. modafinil 100mg generic – guaranteed viagra overnight delivery usa oral viagra 100mg

  41. erectile dysfunction pills over the counter – oral prednisone 10mg deltasone 10mg cost

  42. order isotretinoin 20mg pills – celebrex order oral celecoxib 200mg

  43. buy flomax 0.2mg without prescription – buy tamsulosin 0.2mg spironolactone 25mg cheap

  44. simvastatin price – simvastatin brand cheap custom essays

  45. caesars casino online – online casino game professional letter writing services

  46. online casino real money paypal – gambling meaning purchase ampicillin online

  47. ciprofloxacin 500mg drug – order tadalafil 40mg online tadalafil uk

  48. sildenafil 100mg brand – generic deltasone vardenafil for women

  49. Simply desire to say your article is as surprising. The clearness on your publish is just
    excellent and i could suppose you are knowledgeable on this subject.
    Fine along with your permission let me to grasp your feed to stay updated with approaching post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  50. Hello to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting
    more from this web site, and your views are good designed for new users.

  51. Howdy superb blog! Does running a blog like this take a large amount of work?
    I’ve very little knowledge of programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyways, should you have any ideas or techniques for
    new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic but I simply had
    to ask. Appreciate it!

  52. Superb post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.

  53. I got this website from my buddy who told me about this web site
    and at the moment this time I am visiting this site and reading very
    informative articles or reviews at this time.

  54. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on several websites for
    about a year and am nervous about switching to another
    platform. I have heard excellent things
    about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my
    wordpress content into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  55. Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue regarding this piece of writing at this place
    at this blog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting at this place.

  56. Asking questions are actually good thing if you are not understanding anything
    fully, but this piece of writing offers pleasant understanding yet.

  57. buy generic augmentin – augmentin order cialis oral

  58. buy trimethoprim generic – order sildenafil 150mg pills viagra tablets

  59. buy cephalexin generic – cleocin 150mg uk oral erythromycin 500mg

  60. purchase fildena pill – sildenafil drug ivermectin 5 mg price

  61. rhinocort price – order antabuse 500mg online cheap buy generic antabuse

  62. cefuroxime pill – tadalafil over the counter tadalafil 10mg oral

  63. ampicillin 250mg cost – generic ampicillin 500mg tadalafil 5mg us

  64. buy amoxicillin tablets – order generic zithromax 250mg order levitra 10mg generic

  65. ivermectin 12 mg over the counter – levitra order levitra 20mg price

  66. order generic doxycycline – cialis 10mg canada buy cialis 10mg

  67. OK, you outline what is a big issue. But, can’t we develop more answers in the private sector?

  68. Very Interesting Information! Thank You For Thi Information!

  69. Regards for helping out, superb info.

  70. cialis 5mg tablet – cialis on line order modafinil 100mg sale

  71. Substantially, the post is really the best on this laudable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly watch forward to your future updates.Just saying thanx will not just be enough, for the wonderful lucidity in your writing.

  72. Great post. Just a heads up – I am running Ubuntu with the beta of Firefox and the navigation of your blog is kind of broken for me.

  73. This is an awesome entry. Thank you very much for the supreme post provided! I was looking for this entry for a long time, but I wasn’t able to find a honest source.

  74. order deltasone 5mg online – accutane 20mg over the counter order generic accutane 40mg

  75. I Am Going To have to come back again when my course load lets up – however I am taking your Rss feed so i can go through your site offline. Thanks.

  76. purchase amoxil sale – amoxicillin 1000mg uk brand sildenafil 50mg

  77. Some genuinely choice content on this site, bookmarked .

  78. buy prednisolone for sale – neurontin 100mg us cheap sildenafil for sale

  79. lasix buy online – doxycycline medication ivermectin 24 mg

  80. Allassignmenthelp.com is an authorized essay writing service with 12+ years of knowledge. We satisfy your free plagiarism checker proposal with a plagiarism-free, essay writing service designed to carry you the more help you demand in finishing your following academy article. We correspond the most suitable educational writers, do my essay is a site where you can receive skilled help from qualified writers. We strive to create all our customers relaxing! Money-back guarantee, Proficient essay writers from the US.

  81. buy plaquenil 400mg pill – buy chloroquine sale buy baricitinib 2mg online cheap

  82. buy metformin sale – buy lipitor order amlodipine 5mg sale

  83. purchase vardenafil generic – order clomiphene 100mg generic clomiphene canada

  84. বাংলা প্রশ্ন উত্তর সাইট তল্লাশি, আজই আপনার সমস্যা নিয়ে প্রশ্ন করুন , অভিজ্ঞ ব্যক্তিগন আপনার প্রশ্নের উত্তর দিয়ে সহযোগিতা করবে । তাছাড়াও অন্যাদের প্রশ্নের উত্তর দিয়ে, জিতে নিন আকর্ষণীয় পুরস্কার । তল্লাশিতে যেকোনো বিষয়ে প্রশ্ন করতে পারেন।।

  85. You have some helpful ideas! Maybe I should consider doing this by myself.

  86. albuterol generic – slots casino games dapoxetine 60mg usa

  87. synthroid 100mcg ca – synthroid 150mcg cheap buy plaquenil

  88. tadalafil women – sildenafil us sildenafil order online

  89. Tips and tools you offer are so helpful to agencies in our community.

  90. prednisone 20mg oral – order accutane 40 mg online amoxicillin 500mg canada

  91. Could not disagree with the main ideas. Wonder how things will develop over the coming years.

  92. order diltiazem generic – diltiazem online gabapentin for sale

  93. buy furosemide 100mg without prescription – order allopurinol pills order doxycycline 100mg pills

  94. It’s continually awesome when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had fun writing this article. Regards, Clotilde.

  95. Great Assignment Helper possesses the best intellect accessible for composing your assignments. Our guides are doctorate holders with experience in furnishing Veterinary Medicine Assignment Help to understudies.

  96. Our community leaders need to read this, and look at developing some of your recommendations.

  97. buy cenforce without prescription – purchase crestor order domperidone 10mg pills

  98. Spot on with this write-up, I actually assume this website needs far more consideration. I will in all probability be once more to learn rather more, thanks for that info.

  99. There is so much to try to understand

  100. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?

  101. bonjour I love Your Blog can not say I come here often but im liking what i c so far….

  102. viagra 100mg pills – order cialis 10mg sale cialis 10mg cost

  103. I simply needed to appreciate you once again. I do not know what I could possibly have used in the absence of these tips shared by you on that situation. It seemed to be an absolute daunting scenario in my view, nevertheless being able to view the professional mode you resolved it took me to jump with joy. I am happy for this information and as well , pray you realize what an amazing job you are carrying out training others through the use of your webpage. I am certain you’ve never got to know any of us.

  104. I wanted to write down a simple remark to be able to appreciate you for the fabulous guides you are posting here. My long internet research has now been honored with wonderful facts and strategies to write about with my partners. I ‘d assert that most of us site visitors are extremely lucky to dwell in a fabulous community with very many brilliant individuals with good principles. I feel really privileged to have used the site and look forward to plenty of more fabulous moments reading here. Thanks once again for all the details.

  105. My wife and i got joyful when Peter managed to do his investigation while using the precious recommendations he got from your web page. It’s not at all simplistic to just choose to be offering methods others have been selling. And we all do understand we have you to thank for this. All of the illustrations you made, the easy web site menu, the friendships you can make it possible to promote – it is all exceptional, and it’s facilitating our son and our family understand the content is pleasurable, and that’s highly fundamental. Thanks for the whole lot!

  106. A lot of thanks for every one of your efforts on this website. Ellie enjoys setting aside time for investigations and it is easy to understand why. A lot of people hear all about the compelling medium you provide sensible thoughts on the web blog and even increase response from some others about this matter while our own daughter is certainly studying a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. Your doing a fabulous job.

  107. I just wanted to post a brief remark in order to express gratitude to you for the amazing steps you are writing on this site. My prolonged internet search has at the end of the day been paid with really good concept to talk about with my visitors. I would say that most of us visitors are quite endowed to live in a notable website with many marvellous individuals with beneficial things. I feel truly fortunate to have discovered your website and look forward to many more thrilling times reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.

  108. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style and design .

  109. modafinil online buy – mens ed pills rhinocort order

  110. I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers however this post is really a good piece of writing, keep it up

  111. I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers howeverthis post is really a good piece of writing, keep it up.

  112. Thanks for all your valuable efforts on this site. My mother takes pleasure in doing investigations and it is simple to grasp why. Most of us hear all relating to the dynamic form you produce efficient tips and hints via your web site and encourage participation from some others on the area plus my simple princess is without a doubt becoming educated a lot of things. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You are doing a really great job.

  113. I am also writing to let you know of the magnificent discovery my princess obtained visiting your webblog. She learned a wide variety of pieces, which included what it’s like to possess an awesome coaching character to make many more without problems understand specified very confusing things. You actually surpassed people’s desires. Thanks for distributing these warm and friendly, safe, explanatory and even unique tips about your topic to Mary.

  114. I would share your post with my sis.

  115. generic isotretinoin – azithromycin over the counter cheap tetracycline 250mg

 Leave a Reply

Name required. (Spam NEVER gets published before being trashed)

Email required. (Spam NEVER gets published before being trashed)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>