The Official Baby Boomer Years

Have you ever wondered what the official definition of a baby boomer is? Do you want to see an authoritative list of the baby boomer birth years? First, do not think that I am the authority here. Far be it. If you have searched for an answer to this question, then you know that there are quite a few differing answers as to what is the correct range of birth years.

Entire organizations have been created around the “boomer” concept and it is in their best interest to make that time span as large as possible, to cast a wide net. But even sources that we consider authoritative do not define the range of birth years accurately.

If you are like me, and you do not trust any answer unless it comes from an unimpeachable source, then you should know that such a source does exist and it answers the question; what are the baby boomer birth years? There is actually only one unimpeachable source for an answer to this question and that source is The United States Congress.

Many people do not believe that our Congress actually defined who is a “boomer,” but they did. All right, Congress did not actually put the label “baby boomer” on the list of years but they certainly defined the range of years and anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can find out what it is.

Congress defined that range of years through their proxy, The Social Security Administration (SSA). If you want to know what years define the baby boomer age, go to the SSA’s official website at (remember, do not use ‘.com’ – we are dealing with the government so use ‘.gov’).

Underneath the SSA banner at the top of the webpage, click on the “Benefits” link, then on the “Retirement” link from the drop down menu and then on the next webpage click on the “Find your full retirement age” link and in the next window, click on the “Full Retirement Age (chart) link. Scroll down that page to see the chart for everyone born in 1937 or earlier to everyone born in 1960 or later and all the years in between.

Take a good look at that list. Notice that the full (normal) retirement age for U.S. citizens is extended by two months for every year from 1938 through 1942 and from 1955 through 1959. But for the time span around World War II, there is only one group of years on that list that does not get that treatment: the years 1943 through 1954. Everyone born in that twelve-year period (all of 1943, all of 1954 and all of the years in between) has a full retirement age of 66.

While it is true that Congress did not instruct the SSA to put the words “Baby Boomers” next to “1943-1954” on the SSA’s website, Congress at least defined the range of years. So if you ever wanted to know the most authoritative definition of a baby boomer, now you know: those born between 1 Jan 1943 and 31 Dec 1954.