Shine On

Will Hurricane Sandy cause a mini-baby boom? Opinions are divided

Some experts predict a spike in births following Hurricane Sandy, though others are skeptical. (Thinkstock)Nine months from now expect to see a spike in babies born around the American northeast corridor.

Such is the prediction made by numerous media outlets that claim a combination of fear, geographical isolation from the blackout, and the sexual excitement caused by chaos will result in a mini-baby boom amongst those affected by Hurricane Sandy. 

New York Magazine even published a collection of first-person stories detailing the many ways last month's storm, which knocked out power across a large swath of the area and flooded numerous streets, ignited the sex lives of seven amorous individuals.

The Daily Mail also points toward numerous examples of prior baby booms post-tragic circumstances including the NYC blackout of 1965 and the reported 20 per cent rise in children under the age of 5 in Manhattan post-911.

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The New York Times cites a 2002 study in the Journal of Family Psychology that looked at birth and marriage patterns in North Carolina post-Hurricane Hugo and concluded that the storm motivated people to take "significant action in their close relationships that altered their life course."

And that's not even to mention the most famous Baby Boom of all — the post-WWII population explosion that gives today's Boomers their generational nickname.

"When people are seeking peace in their hearts, they seek other people," Libei Bateman, a Falun Gong practitioner, tells the New York Sun at the time.

"I think after this terrible incident, people think more about their hearts, about relationships."

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But not everyone is buying the popular baby-making theory.

The Ottawa Citizen slams the notion that pregnancy rates increase after city-wide disasters and cites the work of demographer Dick Udry who debunked this popular theory all the way back in 1970.

The article notes that Udry -- a professor at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina -- requested birth records from the New York City health department for the five years before and after the famous six-week blackout of '65.

"It was a simple matter to show that there weren't any extra births," he tells the Citizen.

As for Sandy's supposedly randy outcome, Urdy paints a very different portrait.

"People were standing in huge crowds at the bus terminals and they were being hauled out of subways yesterday," he adds. "I don't have any reason to think they said, 'Let's go home before the lights come back on so we can copulate.'"

Though anecdotal evidence can make it seem as though everyone in the storm's enormous path has been busy getting it on, the reality suggests that many more are occupied with putting their lives back together in wake of the destruction.   

Watch the video below about a controversial Louisiana high school policy announced this fall that requires girls to take pregnancy tests.

 

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