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Hurricane Sandy Baby Boom

Baby boy and girl (9-15 months) in baby carriers, pointing, profile
Photograph by Getty Images

Almost exactly nine months after superstorm Sandy, New York City doctors are preparing for a 10 to 30 percent increase in midsummer births. The obvious (and somewhat cliched) explanation, of course, is that while shuttered away in apartments and homes—lots without electricity for many days—couples kept themselves busy with the most basic of human functions. You know, sex. To put it a little more eloquently: Dr. Warren Licht, former chief medical officer at New York Downton Hospital, said: “It makes perfect sense that during a period of a prolonged loss of electricity, people take comfort in creating their own.”

But is there truth to the hypothesis? It's debatable. Sociologists have found that, in rural India, better electrical service is linked to lower birthrate. The inverse of that, then, would seem to support the Sandy sex theory. On the other hand, after the 1965 blackout in the Northeast there was no increase in births, and after the 2003 blackout, birth rates actually dropped. A study found slightly more births after minor storms, but slightly less after severe weather. Despite all the evidence, though, fact remains: Up to 30 percent more women will be giving birth in late July and August.

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