In the aftermath of World War II the birth rate spiked in the United States as millions of young men were discharged from the armed forces and began to establish new households. This "baby boom" significantly increased the number of families in the United States.
Traditional explanations for the rise of this postwar family ideal focus on economic means: The GI bill increased soldiers' access to college education, greatly expanding college enrollment. In 1947, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. The bill also increased access to low-interest home loans contributing to a large increase in home ownership: from 1944-1952, the Veterans Administration "supported nearly 2.4 million home loans for World War II veterans." However, closer examination shows that many people were left out of this new economic prosperity. Minorities who did not fit the ideal (including racial minorities, feminists, and homosexuals) were suppressed, unable to assert autonomy, and therefore contained.
Other members of society who were excluded from the postwar ideal of middle-class employment and home ownership included, among others, women and Asians. Women who had worked in factories to support the economy during World War II were pressured to leave the workforce and become housewives. Japanese people released from the World War II internment camps returned home to find their property confiscated.
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