Many women spring for a baby in March, April or May — and some would even pony up to ensure the timing.
U.S. moms who are educated and married are more likely to have tried for a spring birth for their first baby, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Econometrics. And married moms aged 20 to 45 would actually shell out $877 on average to guarantee a spring birth if it were possible.
Women working in “education, training and library” professions are more likely to plan for spring births. They may do that in order to maximize their time with the baby, the researchers said, by heading on maternity leave prior to the start of their summer break.
The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation that doesn’t mandate paid parental leave by law. Just 17% of civilian workers have access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allots 12 weeks off to eligible employees, pay isn’t guaranteed.
“There really is a desire to give birth in the spring in the U.S.,” study co-author Sonia Oreffice, a professor of economics at the U.K.’s University of Exeter, said in a statement. The preference is often health-related, she said, as moms try to distance themselves and their babies from peak season for flu and other germs.
“Knowing parents are making these choices for their first child, coupled with the fact that overall the most prevalent birth season is summer, helps policy-makers to better design policies targeting job flexibility, parenthood and child health and development,” she added.
Damian Clarke, an associate professor of economics at the University of Santiago in Chile, and Climent Quintana-Domeque, a professor of economics at the University of Exeter, co-authored the paper with Oreffice.
The researchers used U.S. birth certificate and U.S. Census Bureau data from 2005 to 2014 in their analysis, finding that the probability of having a spring baby was significantly related to factors among married women including a mom’s education, race, age and ethnicity, as well as smoking and receiving food assistance while pregnant.
Through a series of experiments using 3,661 participants on the crowdsourcing tool Amazon Mechanical Turk, the authors also found that respondents on average would be prepared to pay around $620 for a spring birth, versus the willingness to pay $877 among married moms aged 20 to 45.
It could pay to be born in the spring: People born in March or April are around twice as likely as those born in June or July to become CEOs, according to a 2012 study of CEOs by the University of British Columbia. One theory as to why: People born in the summer underperform in school due to admission cut-off dates, that study’s co-author suggested, as kids born in spring were older within their grade and those born in summer were younger.
Separate 2017 research using Norwegian data found that “the youngest children in class are lagging significantly behind their older peers on the educational track, and need more time to reach the same level of earnings,” and that “the oldest children in class have a substantially higher GPA than their younger peers.”