After World War II, the rate of birth doubled as GIs who were away from home during the world war returned home and started families. This "population explosion" would change the American economy forever. "Economy" is a means to satisfy the wants and the needs of the population. The economy is about its people- working, playing, eating, sleeping, loving, learning and dying. The economy is affected by population size and composition. This "Baby Boom Era", as it became known was ushered in by a strong economy and strong economic optimism. It was created by a generation that was relatively small in number and thus relatively favored economically. If the economic theory that a prosperous economy produces an increased birth rate is true, then this was certainly true of the baby boom era. However, when that increased population reaches maturity, their economic and social prospects are usually decreased relative to their economic desires, and this is due to their size. (Modell 254-260). The impact of the restricted economic opportunities should then make the birth rate of those generations decrease, and this is what ultimately occurred in the baby boom generation. The Baby Boom Era was unique in history because it produced an increase in the birth rate, which lasted for twenty years. The baby boomer's parents wanted the best for their children, and had opportunities to give it to them. The baby boomers put a strain on social institutions like hospitals and schools. They also were a young generation of consumers, and fueled the nations manufacturing industries. Twenty years later when the Baby Boomers entered the work force, their large numbers decreased their relative wages, devalued their increased years of education, and for many their desired standard of living was not met. This ultimately, led to the decreased birth rate for the baby boom generation that we see today, which is similar to the birth rate of the 1930's.