CPC Fellow and former CPC director J. Richard Udry cited in MSNBC article

Aug 10, 2009

CPC Fellow and former CPC director J. Richard Udry and his 1970 study on birth rates after one-night events were recently cited in a MSNBC article. The article discusses the myth of a baby boom after President Obama's election and other dramatic events, such as a snowstorm or blackout.

According to the article, many predicted that celebration by Obama supporters would result with "nine months later, babies born out of that election night euphoria."

However, the article says there is no statistical evidence as of yet that supports the thought that one-night events and birth rates are correlated. The article cites Udry's study for support.

"They point to a study by J. Richard Udry of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, who analyzed the local birth rate nine months after a 1965 blackout in New York City and found nothing above average," according to the article. "But the myth lives on. The last line of Udry's statistical study speculates that 'it is evidently pleasing to many people to imagine that when people are trapped by some immobilizing event which deprives them of their usual activities, most will turn to copulation.'"

The article also says that while one nights don't have much of an effect, long-term events such as hurricanes and wars can have an effect and cause a baby boom, such as with World War II.

The article can be found below:

The article references this study:
Udry, J. Richard. 1970. "The Effect of the Great Blackout of 1965 on Births in New York City," Demography 7(3):325-327.


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