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A baby boom is any period marked by a greatly increased birth rate. This demographic phenomenon is usually ascribed within certain geographical bounds. People born during such a period are often called baby boomers; however, some experts distinguish between those born during such demographic baby booms and those who identify with the overlapping cultural generations. Conventional wisdom states that baby booms signify good times and periods of general economic growth and stability, however in circumstances where baby booms lead to very large number of children per family unit, such as in the case in lower income regions of the world, the outcome may be different. One common baby boom was right after WWII during the Cold War.
The HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa has contributed locally to a population boom. Aid money used for contraceptives has been diverted over the past two decades into fighting HIV, with the number of babies born far outstripping the deaths from AIDS. Sometimes it is the deaths of children that spur traumatized parents to replace their dead children with excess. Muriana Taiwo, 45, explained that it was "God's will" for him to have 12 children by his three wives, calling each child a "blessing" because so many of his own siblings had died.
The term "baby boom" most often refers to the post–World War II baby boom (1946–1964) when the number of annual births exceeded 2 per 100 women (or approximately 2% of the total population size). There are an estimated 78.3 million Americans who were born during this demographic boom in births. The term is a general demographic and is also applicable to other similar population expansions.
Recent baby boom periods include the following:
College enrollments have been on the rise as the baby boomers' children — sometimes known as the "echo boom" generation — come of age. This group, born from 1982 to 1995, is about 80 million strong.