A peak in births in late September show that more babies are conceived in the weeks leading up to and days after Christmas than at any other time of the year.

Birth data for England and Wales has been used to look at trends in the most and least popular birth dates over the past two decades. It reveals that highest number of births occur at the end of September.  The interactive graphic shows the average number of births on any given day and the rank from first to 366th.

How popular do you think your own birthday is? Find out with our interactive graphic

Average daily births, England and Wales, 1995 to 2014

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Technically February 29 has the lowest number of births over the 20 year period, but we are reporting the average which adjusts for the number of times the day occurs over the period.

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September 26 most popular day to be born over the last two decades

September 26 was the most popular day to be born over the last two decades, which falls 39 weeks and two days after Christmas day.

8 of the top 10 dates of birth were towards the end of September – with the other 2 being early October. Part of the reason for this increase in births could be due to couples planning to have children at the start of the school year. 1

If births were evenly distributed throughout the year we would expect on average 1,800 births each day. But the average number of births on September 26 was around 2,000.

England and Wales is not the only country to have seen this trend. Similar analysis using data for New Zealand and the U.S shows a larger number of babies born in September.

Babies born over the Christmas holidays

Average daily births, England and Wales, 1995 to 2014

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While the Christmas holidays may be a popular time to make a baby there tend to be fewer babies born, with 6 of the 10 least popular dates of birth falling in the Christmas and New Year period.

This is likely to be due to the large number of bank holidays over the period. Hospitals will generally only be delivering natural births and carrying out emergency caesareans over the holidays. Induced births and elective caesareans are likely to be scheduled on alternative dates.

February 29 has the lowest total number of births over the twenty year period because it only occurs once every 4 years. However, the average number of births on February 29 takes into account the day only occurs on a leap year, resulting in a value just under the overall daily average.

Interestingly April 1 is ranked low, perhaps due to parents electing not to have an April Fool’s Day baby where possible.

One born every minute

Over the past 20 years there were 8 days where 1,440 babies were born. On these days, to coin a phrase there was one born every minute:

  • 25 December 2014
  • 6 February 2005
  • 16 May 2004
  • 6 July 2002
  • 9 February 2002
  • 13 April 1998
  • 25 October 1997
  • 11 February 1996

Contrary to the saying, over the last two decades,on average a baby has been born every 48 seconds.

Visit the website for more information on births in England and Wales, or contact vsob@ons.gov.uk

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  1. IFS (2011) Does when you are born matter? The impact of month of birth on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills in England.