Are babies born uniformly throughout the year?

The graph here is produced from data made available at the Conversation article ‘Tis the season for conception by Micaela Martinez and Kevin M. Bakker (12/19/18). Is there a pattern that is similar for both New York and Texas? It sure seems like it.

It turns out reproduction is seasonal across all living organisms, from plantsto insectsto reptilesto birds and mammals – including human beings. The ultimate explanation for this phenomenon is an evolutionary one.

Earth’s environment is seasonal. Above or below the equator, the year is structured by the winter, spring, summer and fall. In equatorial regions, the wet and dry seasons punctuate the year. Organisms have evolved strategies to reproduce at the time of year that will maximize their lifetime reproductive success.

Humans are no exception and maintain this evolutionary outcome: birth seasonality. Researchers, including us, have recently been working to understand more about why births are seasonal because these patterns can have a big impact on childhood disease outbreaks.

The article has another graph, also with data. The R-script and csv file for the graph here.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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