The Lasting Impact of Boomers: 18 Things They Changed For Good

Every generation leaves an undeniable mark on society, and The Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) was more pioneering and trend-setting than most! They changed many things, including how we shop, dress, and treat others. Here’s a closer look at 18 ways they continue to influence us: the good, the bad, and the ugly!


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Unlike previous wartime generations, which primarily focused on practicality, boomers grew up in a period of post-war economic prosperity. Boomer-time advertisers began targeting children for the first time and used a variety of marketing platforms, including television, billboards, radio, and magazines. This emphasis on material possessions and brand loyalty has proved persistent.


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Boomers came of age during a time of immense social and political unrest, and they weren’t shy about speaking up about their opinions. The Atlantic says the 1960s saw activism by young Boomers on issues such as civil rights, feminism, and The Vietnam War. This generation laid the groundwork for a more progressive, vocal society that doesn’t stand for perceived injustice.

The Tech Revolution

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While Boomers can’t take all the credit, they played a major role in the dawn of the digital age we now live in, heralding in world-changing new technology such as the Internet and the personal computer. Their enthusiasm for new tech helped drive its adoption, and we now live in a world dominated by these new ways of working, communicating, and accessing data.

Casual Dining

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Boomers adopted a more fast-paced and modern lifestyle than their parents, so fast-food chains and casual dining restaurants emerged to cater for their busy schedules and desire for convenience. Such places were very different to more traditional, formal establishments, offering speed and affordability, and forever changing the way Americans (and the world) dines out.

Health and Fitness

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The parents of Boomers weren’t exposed to such high-calorie diets and sedentary, car-based lifestyles, so “working out” wasn’t really a thing. Their children, however, were necessarily more conscious of fitness for health, and this led to an explosion of gyms, health clubs, and fitness classes, as well as a surge in jogging and other forms of exercise, all of which remain important today. 

Suburban Sprawl

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According to Forbes, the post-war economic boom and the importance of homeownership fueled a rapid expansion of suburbs in the U.S. Boomers wanted to work in urban areas but live in more spacious, greener homes on the outskirts of cities and towns. Thus, the suburbs were born—and they continue to impact our transport systems, amenities, and building developments.

Higher Education For All

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Boomers were the first generation to pursue higher education en masse, and they made it something all types of people could benefit from, including women, non-whites, and those from less affluent backgrounds. This shift was fueled by social change and a growing economy that demanded specialized skills. Even now, college degrees are a common requirement for many careers.


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While modern generations have certainly taken the torch, Boomers were the first to witness environmental damage, recognize the underlying causes, and attempt to combat it. Their concerns for the planet (led by the 1960-70s hippie movement) brought about stricter regulations to protect our air, water, and wildlife. We now do things like recycling and trying to reduce emissions.


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The war era meant fitting in and being a ‘cog’ in a larger machine for the benefit of society as a whole, but Boomers challenged these traditional values and had a more individualistic outlook. This shift is reflected in everything from unique career choices based on personal preferences to hairstyles and fashion trends. This individuality has remained important for all subsequent generations.


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CNN reports that “no-fault divorce,” where either spouse can file for divorce without a reason such as bigamy or abuse, became legal in California in 1969. Other states soon followed, and this saw a change in how society viewed marriage, particularly women. For the first time, husbands and wives could escape unhappy unions and find more fulfilling relationships.

Sexual Revolution 

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Traditional attitudes towards casual relationships and sexual experiences were prudish before the Boomers came along. With the help of the 1960s “free love” movement, many young people learned to be more open, honest, and curious about their bodies and sexuality. This forever changed how society views sexual relationships and gender roles and helped people enjoy sex more.

Rock and Roll

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Although they weren’t the first generation to be exposed to it, Boomers embraced Rock and Roll music and turned it into the cultural phenomenon it is today. Musical acts like Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Led Zeppelin became so ingrained in popular culture that we still recognize their music today. Rock and Roll’s rebellious spirit has since influenced everything from clothing to politics!

Credit Card Debt

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Not everything the Boomers left behind was a positive influence, and the rise of the credit card is undoubtedly one of their least favorable impacts. The rise of consumerism and a desire to keep up with others in terms of material possessions made many Boomers embrace credit cards, leaving a destructive legacy of instant gratification for long-term financial pain.


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A study in JSTOR states that the number of international travelers in the U.S. has risen from approximately 1000 (in 1850) to over 25 million a year in the millennium. This massive change was fueled by Boomers, who pioneered faster, more affordable air travel, had greater disposable incomes, and grew interested in world events and alternative life experiences.

Workplace Technology

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Pre-boomer-era workplaces relied on labor and simple machines like typewriters, but that all changed with the introduction of computers and other technologies into the workplace. We now rely heavily on technology in almost every professional environment, utilizing tools such as email and word-processing software to perform a multitude of workplace tasks.

Reality TV

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Boomers were a key demographic in the early days of reality TV and embraced unscripted entertainment such as ‘Candid Camera.’ Their continued interest in the genre as a form of escapism shaped the type of programming we see on television today. Reality TV shows continue to prosper—from singing contests and matchmaking shows to fly-on-the-wall celebrity documentaries.

The “Me” Generation Label

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Boomers were seen to be more self-absorbed and materialistic than past generations. They prompted a shift away from more hive-like wartime communities, prioritizing personal fulfillment and individual needs. While this may sound selfish, it was an important predecessor to crucial modern movements, like improved mental health awareness and a healthier work/life balance.

The Graying of America

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Many boomers are now of retirement age, and their record longevity (thanks to modern medicine and better health and fitness) significantly impacts the workforce, healthcare systems, and social security programs. Many areas are experiencing a “graying population” as more retirees put a strain on limited tax bases and medical resources.

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