By Sam McPherson
When birthdays come around, it’s always nice to be celebrating them as the center of attention. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you might share your birthday with one close friend or a family member, enabling some bigger celebrations where the two of you can hog the spotlight.
If you’re unlucky, however, you may have to share your birthday with a lot of people you know, taking away from your ability to enjoy your special day when eight other people in your workplace have the same birthday. Who wants just one eighth of the cake, after all? Most of us would rather have our birthdays to ourselves, and existing data shows us just which days of the year produce the fewest birthdays.
The Three Most Uncommon Birthdays
According to The New York Times, based on data collected by Harvard University, the three most uncommon birthdays in the United States from 1973 to 1999 were Feb. 29, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Each has obvious reasons for being an undesirable day to give birth, of course.
Since Feb. 29 comes only once every four years, the odds of being born that day are greatly diminished. This is probably a good thing, as most parents certainly do not want their soon-to-be-born child growing up feeling like their birthday is an odd one that they don’t get to celebrate every year on the exact day. As for the other two days above—major holidays in America—much of the nation is celebrating other things on those two days, which takes away from the special celebration reserved for individual birthdays.
Leap Day Becoming Less Unpopular
Last fall, however, new data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (1994-2003) and the U.S. Social Security Administration (2004-2014) gives us better insight into more recent birth trends. Compiled into a great visual chart by Matt Stiles at The Daily Viz website, it’s clear that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day still are the most uncommon birthdays, while Feb. 29 has moved up in popularity a wee bit.
In fact, Leap Day has moved up to 347th in the list of most common birthdays, while Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Dec. 24 and July 4 are the four most uncommon birthdays, fitting into that aforementioned category of days where most people around us are busy celebrating widespread events—too busy to focus on a mere birthday.
Birthdays Less Common Around Major Holidays
Rounding out the Top 10 most uncommon birthdays are days that fit this pattern as well: Jan. 2, Dec. 26, Nov. 27, Nov. 23, Nov. 25 and Oct. 31. While the idea of having a birthday on or around a major U.S. holiday can be appealing to some, it clearly is not appealing to many parents. Even if an unplanned pregnancy occurs, the ability to medically induce early labor is still within control of the birth mother.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every birth date, really, and these trends do reveal a significant pattern: Parents do not want their children to be overlooked on their birthdays. A national holiday or a widespread celebratory day have the potential to get in the way of a child’s ability to feel special on his or her birthday, unfortunately.