The middle of the twentieth century was marked by a significant and persistent increase in fertility rates in many countries of the world, especially in the West, resulting in the famous baby boomer generation. Although the baby boom traditionally considered to be the post-war phenomenon started immediately after World War II, some demographers place it earlier, at the increase of births during the war or in the late 1930s.
The boom coincided with the marriage boom, a significant increase in nuptiality. The increase in fertility was driven primarily by decrease in childlessness and increase in parity progression to a second child. In most of the Western countries progression to a third child and beyond declined which, coupled with aforementioned increase in transition to first and second child, resulted in higher homogeneity in family sizes. The baby boom was most prominent among educated and economically active women.
Economist and demographer Richard Easterlin in his "Twentieth Century American Population Growth" (2000), explains the growth pattern of the American population in the 20th century by examining the fertility rate fluctuations and the decreasing mortality rate. Easterlin attempts to prove the cause of the baby boom and baby bust by the "relative income" theory, despite the various other theories that these events have been attributed to. The "relative income" theory suggests that couples choose to have children based on a couple's ratio of potential earning power and the desire to obtain material objects. This ratio depends on the economic stability of the country and how people are raised to value material objects. The "relative income" theory explains the baby boom by suggesting that the late 1940s and the 1950s brought low desires to have material objects, because of the Great Depression and World War II, as well as plentiful job opportunities (being a post-war period). These two factors gave rise to a high relative income, which encouraged high fertility. Following this period, the next generation had a greater desire for material objects, however, an economic slowdown in the United States made jobs harder to acquire. This resulted in lower fertility rates causing the Baby Bust.
Jan Van Bavel and David S. Reher proposed that the increase in nuptiality (marriage boom) coupled with low efficiency of contraception was the main cause of the baby boom. They doubted the explanations (including the Easterlin hypothesis) which considered the post-war economic prosperity that followed deprivation of the Great Depression as main cause of the baby boom, stressing that GDP-birth rate association was not consistent (positive before 1945 and negative after) with GDP growth accounting for a mere 5 percent of the variance in the crude birth rate over the period studied by the authors. Data shows that only in few countries there was significant and persistent increase in the marital fertility index during the baby boom, which suggests that most of the increase in fertility was driven by the increase in marriage rates.
Jona Schellekens claims that the rise in male earnings that started in the late 1930s accounts for most of the rise in marriage rates and that Richard Easterlin's hypothesis according to which a relatively small birth cohort entering the labor market caused the marriage boom is not consistent with data from the United States.
Matthias Doepke, Moshe Hazan, and Yishay Maoz all argued that the baby boom was mainly caused by the alleged crowding out from labor force of females who reached adulthood in 1950s by females who start to work during the Second World War and do not quit job after the economy recovered. Andriana Bellou and Emanuela Cardia promote similar argument, but they claiming that it were women who entered labor force during the Great Depression who crowded out women who participate in the baby boom. Glenn Sandström disagrees with both variants of this interpretation based on the data from Sweden showing that an increase in nuptiality (which was one of the main causes of an increase in fertility) was limited to economically active women. He pointed out that in 1939 a law prohibiting the firing of a woman when she got married was passed in the country.
Greenwood, Seshadri, and Vandenbroucke ascribe the baby boom to the diffusion of new household appliances that led to reduction of costs of childbearing. However Martha J. Bailey and William J. Collins criticize their explanation on the basis that improvement of household technology began before baby boom, differences and changes in ownership of appliances and electrification in U.S. counties are negatively correlated with birth rates during baby boom, that the correlation between cohort fertility of the relevant women and access to electrical service in early adulthood is negative, and that Amish also experienced the baby boom.
Judith Blake and Prithwis Das Gupta point out the increase in ideal family size in the times of baby boom.
Peter Lindert partially attribute the baby boom to the extension of income tax coverage on most of US population in the early 1940s. The latter actualize already existed and newly created tax exemptions for children and married couples creating the new incentive for earlier marriage and higher fertility. It is proposed that because of the fact that the taxation was progressive the baby boom was more pronounced among the richer population.
In United States and Canada volume of the baby boom was among the highest in the world. In 1946, live births in the U.S. surged from 222,721 in January to 339,499 in October. 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 20. As a result of the marriage boom getting married immediately after high school was becoming commonplace and women were increasingly under tremendous pressure to marry by the age of 20. The stereotype developed that women were going to college to earn their M.R.S. (Mrs.) degree.
The baby boom was stronger among American Catholics than among Protestants.
The exact beginning and end of the baby boom is debated. The U.S. Census Bureau defines baby boomers as those born between mid-1946 and mid-1964, although the U.S. birth rate began to shoot up in 1941 and to decline after 1957. Deborah Carr considers baby boomers to be those born between 1944 and 1959, while Strauss and Howe place the beginning of the baby boom in 1943. In Canada, the baby boom is usually defined as occurring from 1947 to 1966. Canadian soldiers were repatriated later than American servicemen, and Canada's birthrate did not start to rise until 1947. Most Canadian demographers prefer to use the later date of 1966 as the boom's end year in that country. The later end than the US is ascribed to a later adoption of birth control pills.
In the United States more babies were born during the seven years after 1948 than in the previous 30, causing a shortage of teenage babysitters. Madison, New Jersey, for example, only had 50 high-school girls to babysit for a town of 8,000, and any sitter could have had two sitting jobs at once if desired. $5 of the $7 that a California couple spent to go to the movies in 1950 went to the babysitter.
The volume of baby boom was largest in the world in New Zealand and second-largest in the world in Australia. Like in the US in New Zealand baby boom was stronger among Catholics than among Protestants.
In the United Kingdom baby boom has occurred in two waves. After a short first wave of the baby boom during the war and immediately after it peaking in 1946, the United Kingdom experienced a second wave of this boom during the 1960s, with a peak in births in 1964.
The baby boom in Ireland began during the state of emergency which existed in the country during the Second World War. Laws on contraception were restrictive in Ireland and the baby boom was more prolonged in this country. Secular decline of fertility began only in 1970s and particularly after the legalization of contraception in 1979. The marriage boom was even more prolonged and do not recede until 1980s.
France and Austria has experienced the strongest baby boom in Europe. In contrast to most of the other countries, French and Austrian baby booms were driven primarily by increase in marital fertility. In French case, pronatalist policies proposed to be an important factor in this increase. Weaker baby boom has occurred in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The baby boom was very strong in Norway and Iceland, significant in Finland, moderate in Sweden and relatively weak in Denmark.
Along with developed countries of the West, many developing countries (among them Morocco, China and Turkey) also witnessed the baby boom. The baby boom in Mongolia, one of such developing countries, is probably explained by improvement in health and living standards related to the establishment of a socialist society.
The baby boom has occurred at the same time as in the West in the most of Latin American countries (with the exception of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay). An increase in fertility was driven by a decrease in childlessness and, in most nations, by increase in parity progression to second, third and fourth births. Its magnitude was largest in Costa Rica and Panama.
A baby boom is a period marked by a significant increase of birth rate. This demographic phenomenon is usually ascribed within certain geographical bounds. People born during these periods are often called baby boomers; however, some experts distinguish between those born during such demographic baby booms and those who identify with the overlapping cultural generations. The causes of baby booms involves various fertility factors. The most well-known baby boom occurred in middle of twentieth century, beginning in late 1930s or early 1940s and ending in 1960s. It was a change of trend that was largely unexpected, because in most countries it occurred in the midst of a period of improving economies and rising living standards.
The baby boom occurred in countries that experienced tremendous damage from the war and were going through dramatic economic hardships. These countries include Germany and Poland. In the United States the baby boom was attributed to the number of veterans returning home after the war ended in 1945. It also was due to the strong post-war American economy. The U.S. Congress passed the G.I. Bill of Rights to encourage home ownership and higher levels of education by charging very low or no interest at all on loans for veterans. Getting settled in with a more comfortable economic position allowed families to have a place to live, be educated, and start having babies. "Now thriving on the American Dream, life was simple, jobs were plentiful, and a record number of babies were born."The U.S. birthrate exploded after World War II. From 1944 to 1961, more than 65 million children were born in the United States. At the height of this baby boom, a child was born every seven seconds. Factors that contributed to the baby boom consisted of young couples who started families after putting off marriage during the War, government encouragement of growth of families through the aid of GI benefits, and popular culture that celebrated pregnancy, parenthood, and large families.
The baby boom was the result of couples holding off on having children due to the Great Depression and World War II. Once the baby boom began, the average woman started getting married around the age of 20 instead of 22. Couples were eager to have babies after the war ended because they knew that the world would be a safer place to start a family.Another leading cause that led to the baby boom was that people were able to afford moving out to the suburbs to raise a family instead of living in the city. Additionally, the cost of living in the suburbs was very low, especially for those returning from the military. This was also the time period where women were encouraged to take on their "roles", meaning that they were encouraged to stay home as a housewife along with being a mother while the husband worked.
The market became a seller's market. Many families were adapting to popular culture changes that included purchasing TVs, opening credit card accounts, and buying mouse ears to wear while watching The Mickey Mouse Club. Overall, the baby boom time period was a blessing but it also had its flaws once economists realized how many children were being born. Concern arose about enough resources being available, especially when those born in the baby boom time period started having kids of their own.The issues of the baby boom time period are that it could hugely impact the population change and cause social and economic impacts. One economic impact of the baby boom is the concern that when baby boomers get older and retire, the dependency ratio will increase. The Census Bureau estimates that the dependency ratio in the United States will be 65 by 2020 and reach a record-breaking high of 75, the highest it has been since the 1960s and 1970s when those baby boomers were children. The economics of an area or country could benefit from the baby boom: It could increase the demand of housing, transportation, facilities and more for the increasing population. With an increase in population, the demand for food also increased. If a country cannot keep up with a rapidly increasing population, it could cause a food shortage and insufficient health care facilities. Without the sufficient supplies needed for the population, it could cause poor health that could lead to deaths in the population.St. Columba Church (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
The Church of St. Columba is a Roman Catholic church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. The parish was formed in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood in 1915. After the mid-twentieth century baby boom, the church was expanding and needed a new building. Then-pastor Michael Casey contracted with architect Barry Byrne to design and construct the building. Byrne was based in Chicago and his formal schooling ended in the Ninth Grade. Byrne worked under Frank Lloyd Wright and was involved with the Prairie School of architecture before later turned towards Expressionist architecture. Byrne designed the building later in his career.
The 1949 church is very similar in design to St. Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City, Missouri, that was also designed by Byrne. The pastor Michael Casey had the bell tower built to look like an Irish round tower. The interior of the church is built from two overlapping circles. This creates an elliptical interior and an overhead profile that resembles a fish. The fish is one of the earliest symbols of Christianity and the construction of the shape of the church was undoubtedly intentional. The amount of light available on the inside of the building is worth mentioning. There are more than 24 slit like clerestory windows that let natural light in. The interior lightness contrasts with the heavy concrete exterior. The interior of the church features an under lit cove close to the ceiling. Twin Cities architecture critic Larry Millett views the altar as being small for the large interior of the building. Vincent Michael also believes that the altar is undersized compared to the size of the nave.Unlike St. Francis Xavier the entrance doors are made of metal instead of polished glass. Michael Vincent believes it still leaves the impression of emptiness underneath the bell tower. To create the internal shape the external walls are curved. They are constructed of limestone. There is a large amount of concrete and has been described as a "tour de force" of concrete. Several elements of the church are viewed as unique due to their combination. Millett sees the slots in the bell tower, the granite crosses embedded in the exterior walls and the metal on the entrance doors as a special grouping.Millett describes the building as a "high point in modern church architecture in the Twin Cities" and notes it as being removed from many religious and architectural norms. Other critiques note it as having shapes and orders that defy orthodox expectations.