An Obama baby boom?

November 16, 2008

WASHINGTON – What did you do on election night? 

The youth and enthusiasm of President-elect Barack Obama’s supporters in the wake of his historic election could lead to a baby boom if the feelings last.

Hope and euphoria “are a serious aphrodisiac,” Newsweek magazine says in its Nov. 24 issue, citing interviews with experts, supporters and, admittedly, anecdotal evidence.

An Obama baby boom would hardly be the first tied to a big news event. Upward blips in the birth rate have followed many events, both happy and sad, such as the September 11 attacks or the end of World War Two.

The online Urban Dictionary has added the entry “Obama Baby” — “A child conceived after Obama was proclaimed President by way of celebratory sex, or any baby born under Barack Obama’s term(s).”

The key, says Florida State University demographer Woody Carlson, is whether or not this catches on.

“If it’s just a moment of excitement and then everybody goes back to being depressed, then we may see a tiny birth spike. But if it continues, then the birth rate next August (nine months from now) could be the start of something big.”

Photo credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson ( Obama supporters cheer and embrace in Times Square, New York on Nov. 4)

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Like all countries, the U.S. has a “demographic heartbeat,” an annual cycle in the birth rate anyway. The February low is always 50 or 60 thousand births less than the August high, year after year. But 2009 may see an unusually low point in February, nine months after the heart of our 2008 financial meltdown, and an unusually high point in August if there are “Obama babies” on the way. Look for a birth total in August 2009 over 400 thousand for evidence that this is more than just impressionistic speculation!

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