Babies and the blackout: The genesis of a misconception

Alan J. Izenman*, Sandy L. Zabell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Nine months after the great New York City blackout in November 1965, a series of articles in the New York Times alleged a sharp increase in the city's birthrate. A number of medical and demographic articles then appeared making contradictory (and sometimes erroneous) statements concerning the blackout effect. None of these analyses are fully satisfactory from the statistical standpoint, omitting such factors as weekday-weekend effects, seasonal trends, and a gradual decline in the city's birthrate. Using daily birth statistics for New York City over the 6-year period 1961-1966, techniques of data analysis and time-series analysis are employed in this paper to investigate the above effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-299
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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