Baby Boomers on the Verge of Retirement

Census Bureau releases new data about how baby boomers live and work

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The majority of baby boomers are white, married, have attended college, own their own home, and are currently employed, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report released this week. The new analysis of 2006 data is the first profile of this 78 million-member generation in 13 years. Here’s a snapshot of the baby boomers as they approach retirement.

Baby boomers make up 26.1 percent of the total U.S. population. Three-quarters of this post-war generation are homeowners, almost matching the 79 percent of their elders who own property. States with the most people born between 1946 and 1964 include Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Montana, and Connecticut. Their numbers are most prolific in these counties: Los Angeles County, Calif. (Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Ana), Cook County, Ill. (Chicago, Naperville, Joliet), Harris County, Texas (Houston, Sugar Land, Baytown), Maricopa County, Ariz. (Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale), and Orange County, Calif. (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Ana).

[See 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Baby Boomers.]

Most boomers have said “I do,” at least once. Some 66 percent of baby boomers are married, more than any other age group. Far fewer baby boomers are currently divorced (17 percent), widowed (3 percent), separated (3 percent), or never married (12 percent).

Baby boomers residing in the U.S. in 2006 were overwhelmingly born on U.S. soil (86 percent). Some 11 percent of baby boomers are civilian veterans, far less than the 23 percent of older Americans who served in the military.

[See As Baby Boomers Spend Their Savings, Will the Stock Market Decline?]

The baby boomers are also the most educated of any age group. About 29 percent had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher by age 42, and equally as many attended at least some college courses. Just 13 percent of baby boomers never completed high school, the lowest of any generation recorded.