21.01.2019 change 21.01.2019

Demographer: Marriages usually concluded in summer, the most children are born in autumn and in January

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Currently in Poland, marriages are usually concluded during the summer months, while the most children are born from August to November and in January. The fewest children are born on weekends, according to the data collected by Prof. Piotr Szukalski, a demographer from the University of Lodz.

Seasonality (periodicity) concerns both the conclusion of marriages and births. It is visible on both annual and weekly basis, believes the researcher who used GUS data in his studies.

Differences in the number of marriages in particular months are influenced by cultural, especially religious factors, among other things. The periods of Lent and Advent clearly reduce the interest of some newlyweds in months such as March or December. In addition, weather is not conducive to concluding marriages at the end of autumn or at the turn of spring.

"If we compare the variability of the number of marriages in particular months, the advantage of summer and early-autumn months is clearly visible" - emphasizes Prof. Szukalski.

In recent decades, the preference for choosing summer months as the time of formalization of relationships and organization of wedding receptions has clearly increased in Poland. In 1980, 42.1 percent of all marriages were concluded in four months - June, July, August and September. In 2017, it was already 62.5 percent.

"This indicates a changing marriage model, in which the beginning of marriage should constitute a memorable event, not spoiled by unfavourable weather" - emphasises the demographer.

In addition to variability between months, differences in the number of marriages are also visible within the week, between its individual days. According to the demographer, in 2017 only one day without a single marriage was recorded: November 1st. In the case of religious marriages only, there were 18 such days. Majority of them were weekdays during Lent and Advent.

Marriages are usually concluded on Saturdays. Fridays are several times less popular, which - according to the demographer - is associated with the fact that these days are considered best for organizing wedding ceremonies.

In some instances, other days of the week were equally popular - provided that they preceded holidays, which in practice means that they favoured the organization of weddings. For example, in 2017, 1079 weddings were recorded on the Monday before the holiday of August 15, although Mondays are usually among the least popular wedding days.

According to the demographer, seasonality also applies to births, although it is definitely less visible than in the case of weddings. "In this case, one can also notice long-term changes: the number of births in March-May clearly decreases, while their number increases in August-November" - adds the demographer.

He emphasizes that in recent years children are most often conceived in November and December. In 1980, births resulting from conception between July and August prevailed. According to the demographer, this change is difficult to explain.

Differences in birth numbers are clearly visible during the week. In 2017, most children were born from Tuesday to Thursday (on average 1227 to 1267 per day), and least on weekends, on average 832 per Saturday and 785 per Sunday.

"This different birth rate on weekend days and on regular business days is due to the growing popularity of caesarean section, which currently account for approx. 40% deliveries, while 20 years ago its share was only 20%" - believes Prof. Szukalski.

He adds that the main official reasons for the increase in the number of caesarean section births include an increase in the number of mothers who have used this method in previous deliveries and prefer it. On the other hand, there are also more risky pregnancies, some resulting from more advanced age of mothers.

"In addition, both expecting mothers and doctors prefer to minimize the risk. Therefore, caesarean sections are planned for the days when full teams of doctors are on shift in hospitals.

As a result, there are fewer births on weekends, the demographer says.

In his opinion, this factor can also explain the large difference in the number of births between December and January. There are a lot of non-working days in the last week of December, also for medical staff, and as a result, a lower number of births is observed. In turn, the first days of January are the time when the number of births is about 15-20 percent higher than average.

"As a result, the moment of birth ceases to be determined only by natural factors, while the day in which children are born is increasingly dependent on the cultural factor - the work schedule of the medical staff, depending on the cycle of the week" - Prof. Piotr Szukalski from the University of Lodz emphasises in his study.

PAP - Science in Poland

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