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Avoid Childcare Waiting Lists; Deliver after New Years

child birthday heatmap 1973-1999

Heatmap of birthday rankings 1-366 Source: 2006, Harvard University

We were talking to a childcare director that has a 300+ child waiting list at one of their locations. That is a jaw droppingly large number for parents and administrators. Interestingly, they were moving from a rolling enrollment process to a fixed “school year”. It made me think that parents might start adjusting their family planning to maximize their chances on the waiting list.

I had some spare time this afternoon and decided to see if there is a seasonality to births (please, no comments about me needing to get a life). It turns out, there is! The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains extremely detailed data on births (natality). You can slice and dice it by all kinds of socioeconomic data that they collect. See for yourself.

Between 2003 and 2008, children were least likely to be born in February and most likely to be born in August, July and September. Keep in mind, there are 28 or 29 days in February, so naturally chances of being born in that month are reduced.

The CDC does not publish daily data, for privacy reasons, but the New York Times got some data from a researcher who does have access to the daily data. If you were born between 1973 and 1999, the most common birthday was September 16th and least common was January 1st (heatmap above).

In the chart below, I took the probability of being born in any given month as uniform (not a very good assumption given the number of days per month varies) and subtracted the percentage from the total percentage of total births for that month between 2003 and 2008. Not that parents have much choice in the matter, but if you want to be a contrarian, it’s better to be a Capricorn, Pisces, or Aquarius.

Let me know if this rings true for your new children!

Liklihood of Baby Being Born in a Month (US 2003-2008)Liklihood of Baby Being Born in a Month (US 2003-2008)
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Jeff is the Director of Marketing and Co-founder of BumbleBee Childcare Software. He lives in Cambridge, MA, in the United States. You can hear more from Jeff on Twitter and Google +.

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