It’s nice to feel special.
Astrologers would say your birth month dictates your personality, temperament and chances of future success. Clearly, that’s a load of tosh and designed to make us feel special. However, my wife’s recent remark that ‘all the best people are born in June’ got me thinking. True, she does share her birth month with Donald Trump, George Orwell and Prince William – but surely that’s down to chance. Or is it?
For a long time it has been said that children born in different seasons are more or less susceptible to certain illnesses. Experts have usually cast a wary eye, sceptical of such an absurd notion. Such a suggestion reeks of star signs, planetary alignments, and other such astrological mumbo-jumbo.
However, Virgo’s scales are tipping in favour this idea. Whilst not predicting who your future love, or whether you should turn up for work today, your birth month may dictate your long-term health, your height and ultimately, how long you will live…
When do humans get shacked up?
Humans are odd creatures. Most other mammals have a limited number of months (even days) when they can conceive. We on the other hand can get loved-up any time of year (as can rabbits).
In days of yore, female fertility was highest at certain times of the year (usually coinciding with harvest, when Mum-to-be had the most food) so a glut of babies would emerge nine months later. Nowadays, there is much less seasonal variation – food is available all year round. Bizarrely, we still have a preference for making babies in winter (those long dark nights perhaps?) and in late spring (oh, the joys of spring!).
The healthiest time to be born?
A wealth of data shows that your month of birth has very small but noticeable difference in your long term outcome. For example, spring babies end up growing to be a quarter of an inch (0.6cm) taller than autumn babies.
Some medical conditions also show a fairly strong relationship to birth month. Schizophrenia is uncommon but the risk is increased 10% if you are born in the dark months (winter to early spring). For Multiple Sclerosis, May is a particularly bad month to be born (or November in the Southern hemisphere).
Dozens of illnesses have been correlated with specific birth months (and summarised in figure below). Statistics say these differences are more than just chance, even though there is still some conflict about some of the actual results (i.e. Asthma in the UK) – the chart below gives you a good idea:
The Birthdays with the longest life expectancy
Research from Australia shows that being born between May and March is best and will significantly boost your chances of cashing in on your pension. Should you happen to be such a fortunate Aussie, the odds are that you will live 125 days longer than a friend born between October and December. The difference is the same as smoking 10 cigarettes a day for four years (which is comforting to know).
In the Northern hemisphere, the months are flipped, so us folk should expect to live longest if born between October and November.
Clearly, it’s got something to do with the seasons – and most likely our exposure to sunlight at different times of our development. Quite how or why, no one knows (ignoring the astrologers).
Regardless, I know the truth. The best, most intelligent people were obviously born in April (around the 17th I would say)…
Thanks for reading – feel free to comment below…
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Foster, R., & Roenneberg, T. (2008). Human Responses to the Geophysical Daily, Annual and Lunar Cycles Current Biology, 18 (17) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.003