I've heard more than once that children born in the beginning of the year, like January, have an advantage over children born late in the year, like December, because (at least in North America) they're older than the rest of the kids in their class. Boys do better in athletics if they're bigger, etc.
I know there would be lots of anecdotes both proving and disproving this, so let's not have any of those. Instead, I'm interested to know if there are any real studies supporting this.
asked 27 Apr '10, 10:02
Ya i do agree with scott's question i have read this in an article taken from health.usnews....
This is discussed in Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers. In the first chapter, he looked at NHL players and the months in which they were born. There are clear delineations based on the month youth hockey leagues divide kids into age groups, usually January. Those with a few more months of maturity tend to be slightly bigger than their peers, which leads them to be selected for all-star and showcase teams, which gives them extra practice with the best coaches. This extra practice, by the time they turn, say, 16, adds up to a lot relative to their peers who don't get selected because they're half a year younger. When the NHL draft comes along, there are more players whose birthdays are in January, February, and March that wind up making it than any other month. From the blog, From the Rink:
This graph shows NHL players' birth months for all players from 1980 to 1990. Clearly, being born at the end of the year seems like a disadvantage for those wanting a career in pro hockey. Gladwell imagines what might happen if youth hockey split kids into 6-month groupings instead of 12.
The central point of his book is that success in life is not (purely) a result of hard work, drive, dedication, and all the other words we typically use to describe the successful. He claims it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something, so you've got to put the work in. But certain people have advantages over others, wind up in the right place at the right time, and get better opportunities to get those 10,000 hours in faster than others.
answered 06 May '10, 14:07
A lot of my friends and I try to plan pregnancy so that their kids can start school earlier rather than later. The reason is so they can get done with school sooner (we're not very concerned about our kids being behind academically as most of us did much better than average in school).
This opposite idea of starting later for, I guess, a confidence advantage is very, very interesting.
Old thread but never the less......there is significant evidence and research to indicate that children born in the first few months of the year will do far better academically than children born in the last few months of the year.. when all other factors are controlled for, the advanatge lasts right through the college years and the gap widens with each year. In addition, boys born in December are the most disadvantaged of all groups.
So, if you want your child to have the most advantage in life, planning a pregnancy to finish school early will have the opposite effect. Particularly for the boys.
The body of research is fairly substantial - much more than can be posted here. It also goes back more than 30 years. My familiarity with the subject comes from my experience as a sociologist. If you do a quick Google search, you will find many references to support these findings. I have detailed the "pioneers" in this area of research below. I think it is interesting to read the OLD research first - we have known that children who start school later do better for more than 40 years now - and yet we keep pushing them to start sooner.
The Early Researchers
Beattie, C. 1970 - Entrance age to Kindergarten and first grade : Its effect on cognitive and affective development on students.
Maddux, C.D 1980 - First-grade entry age in a sample of children labeled learning disabled
Kalk, Lange and Searle 1982 - A closer look at school cutoff dates and achievement.
Diamond, G.H. 1983 - The birthdate effect - a maturational effect ?
Russell and Startup 1986 - Month of Birth and Academic Achievement
Another Influential Paper from the 90's
The Journal of Educational Research © 1991 Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Abstract Academic achievement indices taken at fifth or sixth grade for summer birth date children who entered kindergarten at age 5 were compared with the academic achievement indices of summer birth date children who entered kindergarten at age 6. Scores on standardized achievement tests were analyzed for 45 pairs of subjects who were matched for ability and gender. All statistically significant differences favored those summer birth date children who entered kindergarten at age 6. Dependent t tests indicated a statistically significant difference (p < .05) in composite test battery scores favoring both older males and older females. Older males scored significantly higher than younger males did in total reading subscores (p < .01). Results of the study indicated a general academic advantage at fifth or sixth grade for summer birth date children who postponed kindergarten entrance 1 year. A particular advantage in reading at fifth or sixth grade was indicated for summer birth date males who postponed kindergarten entrance 1 year.
Most Current Research
I would look at reading Malcolm Gladwell - his work best describes the ways in which the academic gap widens over time. Basically, his research found that older students who excel in the early years (due to the age advantage) gain so much confidence, that they strive for excellence, whereas the younger students develop esteem issues that impede their ability seek out achievement.
Hope this is helpful - I have a drawer full of about 500 research papers in to this subject so will leave it at that.
My mother was born in December. But, she has no any abnormalities. Also, her first cousin has also birthday in December. And he was the last man to be born in 1965.
answered 15 Oct '10, 06:12