Human Ecology

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 289–300 | Cite as

Seasonal distribution of live births in a rural community in the southern United States

  • Stephen J. Clark
  • Richard W. Thompson


Births in Greene County, Alabama for the years 1980–1984 were examined and an overall seasonal trend was found with a peak from August through November. This trend was found to be most pronounced among women greater than 24 yeas old, and among multiparous women, and to be negatively correlated with seasonal variations in temperature and daylight. The phenomenon is likely multifactorial in origin, with sociocultural factors playing a considerable role. The influence of increasing maternal age and parity in the expression of the seasonal trend may be a function of age-related changes in families, with nuclear families acting as the most powerful potentiators of seasonality.

Key words

birthrate seasonal distribution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brown, J. L. (1987). Hunger in the U.S.Scientific American 256(2): 37–41.Google Scholar
  2. Chambers, R., Longhurst, R., and Pacey, A. (1981).Seasonal Dimensions to Rural Poverty. Allanheld, Osmun & Co. Publishers, Totowa, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  3. Chang, K. S. F., Chan, S. T., Low, W. D., and Ng, C. K. (1963). Climate and conception rates in Hong Kong.Human Biology 35: 366–376.Google Scholar
  4. Condon, R. G. (1982). Inuit natality rhythms in the Central Canadian Arctic.Journal of Bio-social Science 14: 167–177.Google Scholar
  5. Cowgill, U. (1966a). Season of birth in man.Man 1: 232–240.Google Scholar
  6. Cowgill, U. (1966b). Season of birth in man. Contemporary situation with special reference to Europe and the southern hemisphere.Ecology 47: 614–623.Google Scholar
  7. Dressler, W., Hoeppner, S. H., and Pitts, B. J. (1985). Household structure in a southern Black community.American Anthropologist 87: 853–862.Google Scholar
  8. Edwards, M. J. (1974). The effect of hyperthermia on preganancy and prenatal development. In Woolam, D. H. M., and Morriss, G. M. (eds.),Experimental Embryology and Teratology. Elsevier Science, London.Google Scholar
  9. Erhardt, C. L., Nelson, F. G., and Parker, (1971). Seasonal patterns of conception in New York City.American Journal of Public Health 61(11): 2246–2258.Google Scholar
  10. Huntington, E. (1938).Season of Birth. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Kevan, S. M. (1979). Season of life-Season of death.Social Science and Medicine 13D: 227–232.Google Scholar
  12. Lyster, W. R. (1971). Three patterns of seasonality in American births.American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 110(7): 1025–1028.Google Scholar
  13. Mills, C. A. (1939).Medical Climatology. Charles Thomas, Springfield, Illinois.Google Scholar
  14. Mosher, S. W. (1979). Birth seasonality among peasant cultivators: The interrelationship of workload, diet, and fertility.Human Ecology 7(2): 151–181.Google Scholar
  15. Parker, G. (1978). Season of birth in New South Wales.Medical Journal of Australia 2: 563–566.Google Scholar
  16. Pasamanick, B., Dinitz, S., and Knobloch, H. (1959). Geographic and seasonal variations in births.U.S. Public Health Service Reports. 74(4): 285–288.Google Scholar
  17. Pasamanick, B., Dinitz, S., and Knobloch, H. (1960). Socio-economic and seasonal variations in birth rates.Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly 38: 248–254.Google Scholar
  18. Poswillo, D., Nunnerly H., Sopher, D., and Keith, J. (1974). Hyperthermia as a teratogenic agent.Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons 55: 171.Google Scholar
  19. Robinson, D., and Rock, J. (1967). Intrascrotal hyperthermia induced by scrotal insulation: Effects on spermatogenesis.Obstetrics and Gynecology 29(2): 217–223.Google Scholar
  20. Robinson, D., Rock, J., and Menkin, M. F. (1968). Control of human spermatogenesis by induced changes of intrascrotal temperature.Journal of the American Medical Association 204(4): 80–87.Google Scholar
  21. Shimura, M., Richter, J., and Miura, T. (1981). Geographical and secular changes in the seasonal distribution of births. Social Science and Medicine, 15D: 103–109.Google Scholar
  22. Thompson, R. W., and Robbins, M. C. (1973). Seasonal variation in conception in rural Uganda and Mexico.American Anthropologist 75: 676–686.Google Scholar
  23. Young, V. H. (1970). Family and childhood in a southern Negro community.American Anthropologist 72: 269–288 (partially reprinted in Shimkin, D. B.,et al. (1978).The Extended Family in Black Societies. Mouton Publishers, The Hague, pp. 122–123).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Clark
    • 1
  • Richard W. Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Alabama, School of MedicineBirmingham
  2. 2.Educational Research and Development CenterUniversity of West FloridaPensacola

Personalised recommendations