Fewer births and deaths at weekends

Fewer babies are born on a Saturday or Sunday than on weekdays, and slightly more people die on weekdays as well. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has published these birth and mortality patterns based on new analyses.

(English subtitles available) 
As shown in the previously published explanimation video On an average day, the Dutch population increases by an average 280 persons per day. There are 471 births, 407 deaths, 627 new residents due to immigration and 414 fewer residents due to emigration. However, not every day is an average day, due to seasonal and weekend/weekday patterns in demography.

Fewer births on Sundays

In 2016, an average day had 471 births. Exceptions were Friday, 8 July with 610 births and Friday, 16 September with 599 births. Fewer babies are born during weekends than on weekdays. Last year, 12.7 percent of births were on a Saturday and 11.3 percent on a Sunday. Half a century ago, there was barely any difference in number of births between weekends and weekdays. In addition, the share of hospital births has increased: from one-quarter of births in 1966 to over 80 procent in 2016.

More babies born in summer and autumn

In the summer and the autumn of 2016, there were more births than during winter and spring. Fifty years ago, summer was the season with the highest number of births. The shift from season to season mostly took place in the 1970s and ‘80s and coincides with the introduction of more reliable contraceptives. The question arises whether this led to a slight preference for the summer and autumn months, even though various studies have indicated that many couples prefer spring babies; but as couples who give up on birth control often do not immediately start conceiving, children arrive during summer or autumn instead.

Lower mortality at the weekend

In 2016, the mortality rate was 7 percent lower on Sundays than on other days. By contrast, slightly more people died on a Friday than on any other day. The difference in mortality rates between weekdays and weekend days has increased slightly over the past few decades. So far, the cause has not been analysed. According to a 2006 survey by CBS, the lower Sunday mortality rate is related to the lower number of deaths occurring in hospitals on that day. However, the number of people who die at home is also slightly lower on Sundays.

On an average day in the Netherlands in 2016, there were 407 deaths. Mortality is generally higher in winter on account of a higher prevalence of influenza. The death rate is relatively lowest in the summer season. In 2016, the highest number of deaths was on 30 December (537), the lowest on 3 July (309).

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