Winter Babies' Real Problem? Less-Educated Mothers

Accidental find shines light on old conundrum
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2009 8:00 AM CDT
Babies born in winter tend not to go as far in school.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – For years, economists have been trying to explain why winter babies have it so tough. In study after study, those born in winter consistently perform worse in school, earn less, and are less healthy than peers born at other times of year. Now Notre Dame economists Kasey Buckles and Daniel Hungerman have found, by accident, surprising statistical evidence that children born in winter tended to have less educated mothers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Buckles and Hungerman studied 52 million births US births, and the pattern held true. “We were so stunned, we wondered if we made some mistake,” says Hungerman. “We weren’t even excited, we were like, ‘Is that right?’” The find debunks the longstanding assumption that winter babies came from similar backgrounds as others, and diminishes the importance some much-revered older research.