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A New Explanation For the Plight of Winter Babies

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the prom-night dept.

Science 276

Ant passes along a Wall Street Journal report on research that turned up a new explanation for the lifelong challenges experienced by winter babies. "Children born in the winter months already have a few strikes against them. Study after study has shown that they test poorly, don't get as far in school, earn less, are less healthy, and don't live as long as children born at other times of year. Researchers have spent years documenting the effect and trying to understand it... A key assumption of much of that research is that the backgrounds of children born in the winter are the same as the backgrounds of children born at other times of the year. ... [Economist] Mr. Hungerman was doing research on sibling behavior when he noticed that children in the same families tend to be born at the same time of year. Meanwhile, Ms. Buckles was examining the economic factors that lead to multiple births, and coming across what looked like a relationship between mothers' education levels and when children were born." Here's a chart in which the effect — small but significant — jumps out unmistakeably.

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Jumps out? (4, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549873)

Of course the difference jumps out. The chart was deliberately designed to make the change jump out by not using 0 as the origin of the Y axis.

This is a very common technique for making a difference look a lot larger than it actually is.

Re:Jumps out? (5, Informative)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549913)

Much more important is the lack of error bars, they are what you can use to decide if the difference is greater than noise. However since they seem to be confident enough to include a secondary maximum and minimum, we are led to assume that the error bars are rather small. Since TFA says the study looked at 52 million children over 12 years, it sounds fairly reasonable to suggest that error bars are relatively small w.r.t atleast the primary max an min.

Re:Jumps out? (3, Interesting)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549935)

Yeah, I have little doubt that there is a real effect here, but I hate when things like this are sensationalized. There may well be an effect, but it is a small one.

Re:Jumps out? (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550135)

Did they use only data for Northern hemisphere women (north of the tropics)?, Or is it a mix with tropical and Southern hemisphere as well?

Re:Jumps out? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550219)

I'm not sure why you were modded flamebait. I think your question is valid, considering the southern hemisphere has the opposite seasonal cycle that the northern hemisphere has.

Re:Jumps out? (0)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550265)

That's a good question, and I have no clue why some boneheaded moderator thought it was flamebait. Please mod up.

Re:Jumps out? (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550541)

I would guess that it is for the USA and the results is as one might expect based on the traditional school year in the USA. Me and my siblings were born during Oct(10) through Jan(01) because we were from a farming family. The down time for farmers is after harvest and before planting. Late Oct(10) to March(03). A School Teacher Family would try to target Late May(05) to early Sept(9) as the time to have Kids. Tim S.

Re:Jumps out? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549965)

Noise wouldn't be periodic.

Re:Jumps out? (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550043)

no, but if the amplitude of the oscillation you are trying to measure is comparable to the amplitude of noise, you would be foolish to try and draw many conclusions about that oscillation, certainly without any error bars. Also, there are plenty of sources of periodic noise, mains noise at 50/60hz is the prime example, but being periodic, its easy to account for.

Re:Jumps out? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550081)

Maybe the person that made it had a January birthday?(or June for our friends south of the equator)

Re:Jumps out? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550361)

Never trust a graph without error bars. But the pattern does look remarkably robust from year to year, which suggests that the noise is actually too small to be seen.

Re:Jumps out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550493)

I'd imagine that with 50+ million datapoints that the error bars would be pretty damn small.

Re:Jumps out? (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550525)

From TFA:

The two economists examined birth-certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 52 million children born between 1989 and 2001, which represents virtually all of the births in the U.S. during those years. The same pattern kept turning up: The percentage of children born to unwed mothers, teenage mothers and mothers who hadn't completed high school kept peaking in January every year. Over the 13-year period, for example, 13.2% of January births were to teen mothers, compared with 12% in May -- a small but statistically significant difference, they say.
--end-quote

So problem is more than adequately explained by being born to a teen mother, and winter birth need not be related at all.

Winter birth is probably attributable to spring break, and the re-emergence of summer fashions (read: skimpy) and horny young guys after a hard winter.

The real story is births to teen mothers burdens not only the mother, but also the baby. Winter has nothing to do with it.

Re:Jumps out? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549925)

yeah, thank you.. this article is ridiculous. economists "playing around with the data" should not be labeled as science.

Re:Jumps out? (1)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550061)

Why not? What is wrong with the numbers? A statistically significant result (and I guess this one from a 52-million sample is significant) can be of any size... even if the difference was only 0,0001 %, it could be a valid result. And of course they would choose such a scale for the charts that makes the trends visible.

Here's what I think is wrong. (0)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550147)

I didn't see anything about them trying to eliminate the socioeconomic attribute from the study. In other words, remove all the poor kids from the data and see if there is still a correlation. If there is a difference among kids from the same socioeconomic background being born in different times of the year, then I would consider that there is something to what season a kid is born.

Re:Jumps out? (1)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550041)

No... the effect can be statistically significant without being large. Of course the charts look more dramatic if you "zoom in", but the fact that the difference is only 0,5 % does not make it insignificant. And with the sample size of 52 million children, the results are probably very significant (too bad the article seems to omit the p-value for the tests).

Re:Jumps out? (2, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550133)

It's the being overly dramatic part that I object to. The difference may be significant, but it is small enough that in practice it means little for individuals. It's this kind of thing that has parents doing idiotic things like trying to conceive their kids in September so that they do better.

Re:Jumps out? (4, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550475)

It's well known that children born in Jan/Feb/Mar are much more likely to get ahead because age cutoffs tend to be January 1, so kids born on Jan 1 compete with kids born on Dec 29 in the same year despite having 11 months more experience. Because of this, more attention is given to these "stars", and they perform higher. You should look at the birth months of some professional football teams.

Correllation is Not Causation (-1, Troll)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550305)

I'll tell you what else jumps out. The near immaculate periodic nature of the graphs. It's really regular. Something tell me this study has a lot more to do with the school cycle than it does with the season babies are born in. So I'm going to go ahead and guess that a lot of these births are nine months after proms or spring breaks or whatnot.

And how may I ask does the month your mother gave birth to you lead to a lifelong plight? If ever their was a classic junk study showing the usual correlation-causation woolly thinking, this is it. Apparently, a lot of unmarried, less educated mothers have more unprotected sex in May (or less in January). Why would this lead you to conclude that being born in winter disadvantages someone. I was born in winter and my mother was married, educated and employed. Has my life been deprived somehow? Do I need extra money or protection or something? Yeah sure, chuck me some money. I'll consider it an idiot tax; like the lottery.

Correlation is NOT Causation. Correlation proves nothing. Saturn is correlated to the S&P 500 with r=0.88 [obsessivemathsfreak.org] . And don't think there a correlation so profoundly stupid that someone won't publish a "scientific" paper on it [sciencedirect.com] .

This research is junk. Correlation studies need to die.

Re:Correllation is Not Causation (5, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550435)

Sigh. Correlation means one of three things with regard to causation. In this case those are:

a) being born in the winter causes increased risk of health and education problems for the baby
b) the baby's increased risk of health and education problems causes him or her to be born in the winter (clearly ridiculous)
c) a third factor causes the baby to both be born in the winter and have increased risk of health and education problems.

The correlation between birth month and risk of health and education problems has been observed. This study is pointing out that the direct causative option (a) is probably not true since they have found possible third factors (c) that appear to influence birth month and are known to have an effect on the risk of health and education problems.

In other words, the study is saying, with actual data and without the childish, misunderstood slogans, the same thing you are - birth month does not cause increased risk of health and education problems.

Showing correlation is required for establishing a causative link between two observations so no, correlation studies do not "need to die." It would be nice if people (including you) understood them a little better though.

this isn't a new explanation (2, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549885)

People have been debating this explanation for decades, and studies are all over the map. It'd be more accurate to say that there is yet another new study on the subject of the relationship between season-of-birth correlates and socioeconomic factors, this one claiming that the relationship is in fact significant. There's a bunch more [google.com] studies if you'd like [google.com] .

Zodiac (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550153)

The zodiac holds the most obvious relationship. Everyone knows Geminis are smarter than Aquarius folk. It's in the stars.

Re:this isn't a new explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550319)

I think all journal articles involving statistical analysis should be required to show, in big bold print, the ratio of the size of the data set used in the study versus the size of the data set they had before they decided what period and variables to add.

Also, all statistical analysis software should support a physical odometer that counts the number of regression equations they've run on the data. This number should also be in the article in big bold print. Tampering with the odometer should be met with the same punishment as is used for used car salesmen who alter car odometers.

That means... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549887)

There's a tendency for promiscuous, uneducated teenagers to have unprotected sex during springtime and early summer. It's always easy to say this, but, duh...

Re:That means... (1)

Wanado (908085) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550217)

This is exactly how I see it. It isn't the month of birth that is causing the "life with less means". It is the teenage mother-to-be with less means that is getting laid at prom. Do the math. Class dismissed.

Re:That means... (1)

JLF65 (888379) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550459)

It's not the prom (which is in June), it's Spring Break (which is in March). High schools need to be banned from taking a Spring Break. It's the CLEAR solution. ;)

Re:That means... (0)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550315)

So the poor f2k in spring and the rich f2k in the autumn? Damn, what social group do I have to be in to get it all year round?

Re:That means... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550345)

Damn, what social group do I have to be in to get it all year round?

A republican politician. Than you can screw everybody year around and lie about it.

Re:That means... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550481)

Judging by the presence of your comment on this forum, you're about diametrically opposite right now.

Measured data includes uncertainty (4, Informative)

craklyn (1533019) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549897)

Any measurement made requires two peices of information: the measurement and the uncertainty associated with that measurement. To present data as though its known with 100% certainty is misleading and incorrect. It seems pendantic to worry about uncertainty, but when you're dealing with small effects on the order of less than one percent, if the error bars are +/-2.5%, then it's absolutely incorrect to refer to the result as "jumping out".

Makes sense (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549899)

The difference is extremely small, but one would expect that people getting pregnant because of a one-night-stand or a whim is both higher among the uneducated, unmarried, and also higher during spring when many people's hormones tend to go into higher gear. People who are more in control of their emotions and actions tend to be more educated and are (at least somewhat) less likely to sleep with half the town during spring break.

Of course, the correlations I mention above don't necessarily have to be very large, but probably large enough to affect the statistics by a tenth of a percent.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550099)

People who are more in control of their emotions and actions tend to be more educated and are (at least somewhat) less likely to sleep with half the town during spring break.

It's not quite that simple. People often have a lot of self-control in one area but not another.
       

And Yet another (2, Insightful)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549911)

doctoral thesis claims their "significant" find is "significant". sigh.

Born in December (0)

Harry_Mohan (1386525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549915)

I was born in December and pursuing double masters with GPA of 3.4 is it really bad?

Re:Born in December (5, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549951)

You could do better... if you were born in June.

Re:Born in December (2, Funny)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549961)

I don't think it means you will present all the aforementioned characteristics. So you could still die young!

Re:Born in December (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549975)

Yep. I was born in July, already have 3 college degrees (GPA 3.8 or better), and make about $100K a year. That's way better than "pursuing double masters." It must suck to be a winter baby.

Re:Born in December (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550193)

It must suck to have paid for 3 college degrees in order to make $100K/year.

I was born the end of November, only had to get 1 college degree, and I make $150K/year. Of course, a single exception doesn't rule out a general effect.

Re:Born in December (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550547)

ahhaha
I've been reading the discussion and getting it completely backwards. Damn people not specifying their hemisphere (I was born in June, but I'm a "winter baby").

Re:Born in December (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549995)

Your grammar?

Re:Born in December (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550019)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry's_law

Re:Born in December (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550007)

I was born in October (29th to be exact) and quit school to work so I could pay off bills before continuing with my education. I started back at age 28 and am still there at age 29... I'm closer to the summer months, yet you've beat what I've done.

I've also noticed a pattern!

May seems like a "better month" but let's think about this. May birth: July/August date of conception. January birth: March/April date of conception. Now what's different here? One is a rainy, not real hot or cool period of the year (at least for the NE). July/August.. those are the dog days, when it's soo damn hot and humid (at least in the NE again). I'm thinking it just so happened there's more married births in May because those married couples were too hot in July/August, slept nude.. and well one thing led to another!

Re:Born in December (2, Interesting)

entropy_uc (146475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550085)

Dumb chicks put out in spring when they are horny.

Smart chicks put out when the crops are mature and it's clear there will be enough resources to feed another mouth.

It's amazing how much human behavior is hard wired into us.

Re:Born in December (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550129)

Yea, it just evolved that way and despite a century of grocery stores and not getting your food from the farm directly, it has not evolved back away from it. Go figure.

Re:Born in December (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550495)

I have a different take, July/August school is out, March/April Prom and spring break. In other words, I think teenage pregnancies are hiding any thing else interesting in this kind of data.

Re:Born in December (0, Flamebait)

Thomas M Hughes (463951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550011)

I was born in December and pursuing double masters with GPA of 3.4 is it really bad?

I was born in June, and received a Ph.D by the time I was 27, with a 3.95 GPA. Luckily for me, part of that Ph.D training involved learning that the word data is not the plural of anecdote.

Re:Born in December (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550171)

I was born in December and pursuing double masters with GPA of 3.4 is it really bad?

I was born in June, and received a Ph.D by the time I was 27, with a 3.95 GPA. Luckily for me, part of that Ph.D training involved learning that the word data is not the plural of anecdote.

It's a good thing, too, because your comment might otherwise serve as the first brick in the foundation of my claim that summer babies are caustic and monumental shitheads that seem to spend their free time in pissing matches.

Re:Born in December (0, Troll)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550245)

yeah srsly, citing a Ph.D GPA? u r doing it wrong

Re:Born in December (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550545)

I was born in June, and received a Ph.D by the time I was 27, with a 3.95 GPA. Luckily for me, part of that Ph.D training involved learning that the word data is not the plural of anecdote.

Bah.

Everyone knows Geminis [astrology.com] are a smart lot (I'm one, too) so your accomplishments, while impressive, shouldn't be considered surprising. As for the OP, Sagittarius [astrology.com] is a fire sign, so if he's anything like the Sagittarians I've known, he's probably dumb as a brick, but has the capacity to work harder than everyone else.

Whether the above is science, myth, anecdote or a case of "it's on the internet so it must be true", you be the judge. ;-)

Re:Born in December (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550033)

I was born in late December and stopped once I got my Bachelor's (but with a GPA significantly higher than 3.4) to pay off my student loans. I paid off the last of the loans within four years after graduation and have been continuously employed since. But these are just individual data points, and the slashdot readership is by no means a random sample of the population in any case.

Re:Born in December (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550593)

Just to give an idea how silly individual data points are, here's what the data says in English:

People who are born in January will get, on average, one month less education.

Babies who are born in January are 10% more likely to have a teenager for a parent. (Note teenager means under 20)

Babies who are born in January are 3% more likely to be born to an unwed mother.

Interesting statistics, but the differences too small to really matter when comparing individuals. The fact that all of these measures aren't showing direct correlation with success but only correlations with other factors that correlate with success, any concern about when individuals are born is pointless. This study says little or nothing about what advantages a rich kid with married parents who is born in May might have over a rich kid with married parents who is born in January.

Re:Born in December (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550039)

I know the feeling. Born in January, running a 94% average for my entire school career.
Don't it feel good to be a misfit? (And to all the grammer Nazi's, that was intentional.)

Re:Born in December (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550139)

It's a pity...if only you'd been born in May, you'd have been getting a 96% average!

Re:Born in December (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550169)

But was "grammer Nazi's"?

CAPTCHA: majestic. The level of irony if it wasn't.

Re:Born in December (0, Troll)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550313)

grammer Nazi's:
'gra-mer nat-sees, n.
The kind of people who's goal in life are to point out you're mistakes.

Re:Born in December (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550213)

I was born in August of 1995 and I am pursuing a PhD in Rocket Science and another in Brain Surgery. My GPA is a 4.22.

Re:Born in December (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550463)

I was born in June and finished my PhD while maintaining a GPA of 4.0 throughout grad school.

We've got two anecdotes... does that mean we have data now? ;)

Unwed mothers? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549937)

The same pattern kept turning up: The percentage of children born to unwed mothers, teenage mothers and mothers who hadn't completed high school kept peaking in January every year.

Unwed? What is this, 1950?

Re:Unwed mothers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550075)

There's a statistical correlation between childbirth in winter and the parents of the child not being married. Is pointing that out politically incorrect or what are you insinuating?

Re:Unwed mothers? (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550095)

We have more than enough evidence to conclude that
kids do better in intact 2-parent families.

Casting tradition aside isn't without a cost.

Re:Unwed mothers? (3, Informative)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550131)

> Unwed? What is this, 1950?

Statistically, the marital status of the parents is highly relevant to the child's prospects. Children whose parents are married to one another from prior to conception clear through until the child is an adult get on average much better grades in school, are significantly more likely to consistently hold down jobs as adults, make more money on average, are significantly less likely to have a criminal record, are less likely to be smokers, and so on and so forth. These are quite strong correlations.

Now, correlation is not causation. It's possible that the parent's strong marriage does not *cause* the child's good prospects and performance, but rather that both are caused by some of the same socioeconomic factors. But it's still very much relevant in a statistical study like this.

Re:Unwed mothers? (4, Funny)

pgillan (1043668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550433)

Now, correlation is not causation. It's possible that the parent's strong marriage does not *cause* the child's good prospects and performance, but rather that both are caused by some of the same socioeconomic factors

I like the idea that it's actually a reverse correlation- that stupid children with poor prospects and bad grades cause their parents' divorces.

Re:Unwed mothers? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550239)

Children who are born to mothers that are not married tend to have less complete support systems and fewer financial resources. Even the best single mother can only do so much in 24 hours. She can't do it all. As a result the children can suffer. Children that grow up with parents who have a healthy relationship have an advantage of those who don't.

There's less social stigma attached to it today, but the results are the same.

LK

Different metric (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549959)

If you count backward from January, that puts conception around April/May. Right around graduation. So if you suppose the poor and less educated would be getting married and starting a family instead of getting ready for college, that might explain some of it.

It would probably be just as interesting to track the birth rates correlated to surges in beer and Jagermeister sales.

Re:Different metric (1)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550051)

Thats kinda interesting as there has always been that spring/love thing going on. It to me makes sense a lot of babies that are from less educated individuals would be a result of spring time flings (when hormones are high) as opposed to long term planning.

Re:Different metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550065)

My guess is that educated people see their friends getting their kids ready for "back to school", and get excited about it (having fond memories of school), and it leads to wishing they had a kid to take back to school. Hence, higher August/September conception rate.

Looking forward to more data being brought in to this discussion to try and tease out other patterns.

Is the effect stronger in the north, where fall is a longer, beautiful season (increasing the Back to School ambiance)? (Here in Texas, the leaves are green one week and the tree is bare the next.) What happens to the numbers if you pull out all mothers younger than 18/likely high school graduation age, and treat the two as unique populations? Or if you separate single and wed mothers?

Re:Different metric (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550199)

I know a few folks that are quite well educated but are poor and vice-versa.

I think that's a potential area for error in this study: eduction == socioeconomic status.

Re:Different metric (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550247)

Lots of studies have shown that higher socioeconomic status correlates with higher education

Re:Different metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550395)

I think that's a potential area for error in this study: eduction == socioeconomic status.

Lots of studies have shown that higher socioeconomic status correlates with higher education

Yes, higher socioeconomic status correlates with higher education, but it does not correlate with eduction, which was your parent's claim.

3rd bump (2, Interesting)

danlip (737336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29549969)

There is a secondary bump around September in each of these charts - it's much smaller but consistent every year. Fascinating.

Re:3rd bump (2, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550187)

New Years and Christmas parties?

Re:3rd bump (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550339)

Christmas party conceptions. As opposed to the other two which are prom/graduation conceptions and back to school conceptions.

Correlation is NOT causation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549987)

The real causative in winter babies is that babies born under winter's astrological signs have shorter lifelines.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29549999)

This is all crap, i was born in JAN.. very good physically, fall ill less and already among the first 5 of the class since i was a kid.

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550155)

Perhaps if you were born in May, you'd understand about significant, but small statistical differences and how they relate to the experience of individuals.

Or to put it in more real world terms, you are like a woman reading an article saying "statistically speaking, the average man is four inches taller than the average woman" and saying "what crap! I'm taller than a lot of men I know!"

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550215)

First 5 of class to do what, fail English?

Conception in July/August (4, Funny)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550009)

I see the explanation in the fact that married and educated women have sex with their man only once a year during their holiday in July/August. :)

Re:Conception in July/August (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550097)

Sonnna-of-a-bitch! Why couldn't they have discovered that when I was young! I was born too goddamn early! I could have been getting laid during those months, but noooooo, I was working and going to Summer school! A lot fucking good it did me! Instead of being washed up and depressed and I could be washed up, depressed, and with some fond memories from my young adulthood of getting laid by randy smart chicks!

Winter where? (4, Interesting)

xirusmom (815129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550031)

I wonder if all the data comes from the North Hemisphere? What happens in the south?

Re:Winter where? (1)

wonmon (1214678) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550297)

The teenagers conceive in the clockwise direction.

Re:Winter where? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550523)

i think your doing it wrong.

School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (5, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550053)

The age cutoff for entry to kindergarten seems to cycle around mid-September, but varies quite a bit from state to state. [ecs.org] But in general, a kid born in the winter will have to wait longer to start school.

School & Sports ?? (1)

elijahu (1421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550177)

It might make an interesting study to compare the success of kids with "late" birthdays who started on-time/early versus those who had to wait an extra year.

I thought I'd heard of a similar study where kids with winter birth dates excelled at sports because they tended to miss cut-off dates for teams, and therefore were older, larger, faster, and more mature than the kids they were teamed with each year. This leads to them getting more time handling the ball as they grow up.

Re:School & Sports ?? (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550231)

Nevada would be a good place to start. Their cutoff dates are 5 by 9/30 for K, 6 by 9/30 for 1st grade. Period. No exceptions. It would be interesting to follow a group of kids born in September and October through the system and see what (if any) patterns emerge.

Re:School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (1)

eh2o (471262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550179)

They should have spring admission to kindergarten! November baby here and I'm about a year older than most of my classmates.

Re:School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550325)

I suppose it's logistically infeasible, but a true trimestral school year would keep students within 4 months of their peers. Of course, it would also kill summer vacation, so...

Re:School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550557)

Your grammar and spelling are amazing for a 6 year old! Do you understand most the articles on this website?

Coochie Coochie cooo... who's the smart kinder... YOU are, YOU are

Peekabo!

Re:School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (1)

32Na (894547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550535)

Another effect that might play a small role here: the school year in the US typically ends in May, and school teachers might have tried to 'time' their pregnancy in order to have a baby after school let out for the summer, and so have at least three months with their baby before the next school year started.

This was the case in my family: my mother was a teacher, and both my sister and I were born in May, just as school let out (I'm speculating about cause and effect, however).

Re:School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550577)

Wouldn't they time it so the baby was born in sept so their maternity leave was not wasted?

Re:School entrance age cutoffs, maybe? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550551)

I was born in December. I started 3mo early, my parents rammed me through. But I don't live in the US either, I believe their words were something to the effect of "3 months doesn't make a difference when you're already at that curve."

united healthcare will add this to pre existing co (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550057)

united healthcare will add this to pre existing conditions list

Mr. Hungerman? Babies? (2, Funny)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550071)

Anyone else picture this guy screaming, "Get in my belly!!"?

Forest for the trees (1)

cenobyte40k (831687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550113)

Looks like someone couldn't see the forest for the trees. All these years of study before someone figured out that there was a releation to the intelegence/eduction/etc of parents. Ugg...

Re:Forest for the trees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550149)

releation to the intelegence/eduction/etc

I'm guess you were born in the December/January timeframe...

Sample Size?! Confidence Intervals?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550127)

Where are the error bars? What was the sample size each year? Were the raw data selected in an unbiased manner? What is the author's definition of "significant"?

Well now i dont feel so bad (0, Troll)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550151)

... and all this time I was pissed because my birthday wasn't on xmass and I didnt get twice the presents. Wish i knew the kids were doomed to being dumbasses. Now I wear my summer birthday(suit) with pride.

let me explain this to you. (-1, Troll)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550223)

Babies born in winter are a result of springtime mating. This would suggest that their parents are fraught more with biological factors such as instinct than intelligence. Or, like my wife and I, both above 130 IQ, just had a lot of sex during spring break. That resulted in our beautiful, healthy, and intelligent boy being born in January of 2008.

Re:let me explain this to you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29550273)

He's pretty young. You have no idea how stupid he'll turn out ;) /three kids ...

cause and effect reversed (3, Interesting)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#29550257)

suppose educated women (and education strongly correlates wit income and wealth) "know" htat babies are supposed to be born in the spirng.....
this would rduce the whole thing to a cultural artifact: well to do parents tell thier kids to have a spring baby, and so it goes...

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