births, deaths and time
April 30, 2009 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Are global birth and death rates roughly consistent over the course of a day/month/year? (Are there are any clear patterns of daily or seasonal spikes?)

It looks like average global birth rate and death rate per minute, as measured in early 2009, are about 261 and 102 respectively. (Numbers based on my casual googling so far; I'll research more, but specific numbers aren't important here, just trends.)

I'm thinking about making an audio installation that would present this in sound (repeating sounds indicating births happening 261 times per minute, other sounds indicating deaths happening 102 times per minute), so people could experience those rates in a way other than just reading the stats.

Although this wouldn't necessarily affect the installation (because its main point would be driving home the ratio of one average rate to the other, not representing the patterns of fluctuation in either rate), I'm wondering whether I can correctly assume those rates are roughly consistent over time. In other words: do some times of day, and/or some times of the year, have significantly more births or more deaths worldwide than other times?

As a layperson just starting to think about this, I'm imagining some factors but guessing they wouldn't matter because the conditions that would make them happen affect only part of the globe (for the seasonal conditions) or only certain time zones (for the time-of-day conditions). However, some regions / time zones have way more population than others. (Possible example: starvation or malnutrition rates rising at the hottest times of the year in a region populous enough where that would matter... or mass casualties following seasonal or geological patterns.)
posted by kalapierson to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
Solar events are often referenced as increasing myocardial infarctions and cerebrovascular events.
posted by zentrification at 11:51 AM on April 30, 2009

I've absolutely no idea where this data comes from, but it suggests that there isn't much of a difference in distribution across various seasons, at least not in the US in 1996. Things are a little higher in August and September--people apparently tend to get it on around Christmas, which isn't terribly surprising--but they're only single-digit percentages above the trough months.

In America, you're going to run into an anomaly in that almost a third of births are done via Caesarean section. As a not-insignificant number of these are planned, and no one plans to have a baby in the middle of the night, I think you'll find that there's a bias towards daytime births. But I've got no hard numbers for you on that score.
posted by valkyryn at 12:28 PM on April 30, 2009

People often tend to off themselves during the holidays.

People get it on during the spring, so that might balance out the holiday cuts.

People also get it on during the colder seasons, leading to Fall Babies.
posted by emptyinside at 4:16 PM on April 30, 2009

If you look at all-cause mortality statistics for the elderly (those aged 65+), there is a very noticeable spike during flu season.

I don't have a link handy, I'm afraid. I only happen to know this because my Dad studies flu trends for a living.
posted by Commander Rachek at 10:19 PM on May 3, 2009

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