Thursday, July 20, 2006

German Baby-Making: Spurts and Stalls   posted by TangoMan @ 7/20/2006 08:08:00 PM

What was going on in Germany in April of 2001 that so distracted people that many of them forgot to get busy making babies that month? And when the sudden forgetfulness was likely noted shortly after January of 2002, did the Germans feel guilty and make a concerted effort to get back on track by getting extra busy in March of 2002, or was there a massive power failure which left people with little to do but seek their own form of entertainment?

Check this graph of Germany's birth data and note the deviation from expected norms in the months of January 2002 and December 2002. I've graphed 10 years of data and the monthly average for births in January is 62,881, usually in a narrow range of 59,000-65,000 but in January of 2002 the births dropped to 47,613. Then to close out the year there were 73,104 births in December when the monthly average is 61,916 ranging between 56,000 - 67,000.

What I've done for the graph is taken the annual mean and then charted the monthly variance from the mean. Quite clearly there are annual cycles to conception (and these vary by country - more data in subsequent posts) and there are two very noticable deviations from the norm in 2002.

So, what was going on in Germany back then?