After the Blizzard: A Baby Boom?

It's pretty likely this time
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2016 1:29 PM CST
After the Blizzard: A Baby Boom?
This NOAA satellite image taken Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 at 12:45am shows the blizzard slowly moving out to sea off of the Mid-Atlantic coast.   (AP Photo/Weather Underground)

If history or any number of wagging tongues are to be believed, when Americans are faced with extended enforced time at home, they turn to the arms of ... well, of each other. So, as the snow from this weekend's blizzard melts into memory, will the East Coast have a whole new class of tiny shovelers in nine months' time? Fortunately, science has a more authoritative answer, reports NPR, which talked to Brigham Young economist Richard Evans, whose claim to fame is 2008 research on the subject. What he found was, basically, yes: "With low-level, low-severity storm advisories, we actually found an uptick in births nine months later. So, it was about a 2% increase with tropical storm watches."

But the key there is "low-severity." Continues Evans: "With the most severe storm warnings ... you get almost an equal decrease in births nine months later. And the story there is if you're running for your life, you can't make babies." But since East Coast residents weren't running for their lives, and mostly hunkered down, Evans thinks we should see a spike in the birth rate. Fox News points to another, more modern indicator: Hook-up apps like Tinder tend to see a flurry of activity among those looking for some weather-related love, and that was indeed the case this time, notes the Daily Dot. An earlier 1970 study, however, found no link, notes, with the author concluding thusly: "It is evidently pleasing to many people to fantasy that when people are trapped by some immobilizing event which deprives them of their usual activities, most will turn to copulation." (Timing's a little off: Summer babies tend to become healthier adults.)

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