January 1, 2010, marked a watershed moment in American culture and demographics. The first of the trend-setting generation of “baby boomers” would be celebrating their milestone 65th birthday. The generation born between 1946 and 1964 was moving from the “Age of Aquarius” to the “Age of Retirement.”
Given the extent of their representation in society, their massive buying power, and their historic impact on so many facets of American life, it is not surprising that this transition was front page news in the New York Times. As the Times so aptly noted, “[t]his means that the 79 million baby boomers, about 26 percent of this country’s population, will be redefining what it means to be older.” Dan Barry, Boomers Hit New Self-Absorption Milestone: Age 65, N.Y. Times, Dec. 31, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2011/01/01/us/01boomers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
A quarter of our population is now over the age of 55 and, in the next 20 years, roughly 10,000 people will turn 65 each day. There are more of us, and we are healthier and living longer. It is estimated that the average 65-year-old woman in good health is expected to live another 23 years; males of the same age and health can expect another 20.