The Lucky Few: Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jun 19, 2008 - Social Science - 216 pages
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Born during the Great Depression and World War Two (1929–1945) an entire generation has slipped between the cracks of history. These Lucky Few became the first American generation smaller than the one before them, and the luckiest generation of Americans ever. As children they experienced the most stable intact parental families in the nation’s history. Lucky Few women married earlier than any other generation of the century and helped give birth to the Baby Boom, yet also gained in education compared to earlier generations. Lucky Few men made the greatest gains of the century in schooling, earned veterans benefits like the Greatest Generation but served mostly in peacetime with only a fraction of the casualties, came closest to full employment, and spearheaded the trend toward earlier retirement. Even in retirement/old age the Lucky Few remain in the right place at the right time. Here is their story, and the story of how they have affected other recent generations of Americans before and since.

"Carlson’s work provides an examination of a previously neglected generation while at the same time teaching us how important generational location in general is in determining life chances. It will be a treasured work for the scholars in this area". Steve H. Murdock, Director, U.S. Census Bureau

"Carlson makes the issue of a cohort and cohort analysis come alive". Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University

"The richly documented account of the varying fates of American generations, based chiefly on IPUMS data, provides a fresh perspective on the history of the United States in the twentieth century. This book will become a classic of historical sociology". Steven Ruggles, Director, IPUMS Project

"As a member of the Lucky Few generation, I salute Woody Carlson's masterful analysis of this nearly forgotten cohort of Americans". John Weeks, San Diego State University

 

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Contents

Who are the Lucky Few?
1
The Lucky Few in Public Life
2
The Lucky Few in Business
3
The Lucky Few in Sports
4
The Lucky Few in Music
5
The Lucky Few in Television and Movies
6
Membership in the Lucky Few
7
American Generations of the Twentieth Century
11
Generational Investments in Corporations
106
Generations and Pension Coverage
110
At the Heart of the Silent Majority
113
Measuring Attitudes of the Generations
115
Gradual Shifts in Opinion
117
The Abortion Debate
121
Social Trust
122
Newspapers
124

New Worlders Born from 1871 to 1889
15
Hard Timers Born from 1890 to 1908
18
Good Warriors Born from 1909 to 1928
20
Lucky Few Born from 1929 to 1945
22
Baby Boomers Born from 1946 to 1964
24
Generation X Born from 1965 to 1982
26
New Boomers Born from 1983 to 2001
29
Comparing Generations
31
Chapter 3 Unlikely Origins
33
Rise and Fall of Normal Households
35
Number of Siblings
37
Ages of Parents
40
Studies of Childhood Stress
42
Rise of Mass Education
43
Educational Backgrounds of Adult Generations
45
Growing Up Golden
51
Jobs for Generations
52
High Tide for Marriages
57
Motherhood Mania and the Baby Boom
62
Peacetime Patriots
68
The SpanishAmerican War
71
The First World War
73
The Second World War
74
The Peacetime Military Establishment
75
The Vietnam Conflict
80
Operation Desert Storm
82
Casualties
83
Veterans
88
High Road to Money and Power
91
Occupational Transformation of the Labor Force
93
Generational Participation in the Union Boom
98
Growth of Corporations
101
Busing
125
Firearms
126
Political Parties
128
Liberal Moderate or Conservative
130
The Lucky Few in Black and White
137
From National Origins to Black and White
139
From Black and White back to National Origins
142
The Great Migration
145
Generational Divide in Marriage
149
Single Parents and Delayed Marriage
153
A Great Educational Leap Forward
156
Employment Patterns in Black and White
159
How Lucky were Black Americans in the Lucky Few?
164
The Best Time to Retire
165
Survival of Generations
166
Falling Birth Rates and Population Aging
168
Measuring Trends in Dependency
169
LongTerm Improvement in the Dependency Ratio
171
Retirement Patterns for Generations
174
Disability versus Active Life
176
Trends in Marriage Widowhood and Divorce
179
Trends in Independent Living
182
Could It Happen Again?
189
Childhood for Small Generations
190
Small Generations in School
191
Jobs for Small Generations
192
Marriage and Childbearing in Small Generations
194
Attitudes of Small Generations
195
The Context of Generational Fortunes
197
References
201
Index
209
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