The romanticized stereotype of Baby Boomers is that we were all conceived when daddy came home from WWII, were raised by June Cleaver and then embarked on lives of free love and war protests. Certainly anyone who really thinks about it knows that can't all be true, but as businesses and governments are figuring out how to deal with us in our old age, it would be a good idea to get over the myths and understand the real facts. A few examples:
-While the oldest boomers are approaching 60, the youngest are barely 40.
-Even in the '60s, we weren't all political radicals. One-third of the early boomers served in Vietnam and the majority of southern youth resisted integration just as fiercely as their parents did.
-Despite the civil rights movement and women's lib, the disparity of education and income levels between boomers of different races and genders is still huge.
A study of baby boomers at midlife by researchers at Duke University highlights the differences within the various ethnic, economic and age groups of the generation. Elizabeth Hughes, one of the authors of the study, believes that the country's current divisiveness is a result of the enormous diversity of the life experiences of the boomers. Co-author Angela O'Rand warns, "If we are worried about the future as the boomers age, we need to be prepared for a very, very heterogeneous group of people."