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Why So Many Immigrants Have Birthdays On Jan. 1

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Wednesday is New Year's Day. And also, it's the birthday of thousands of immigrant Americans. Why? - because they fled fighting or some other kind of disaster in a part of the world where birthdays aren't as big a deal as they are here in the U.S. So when it came time to fill out American paperwork and without access to their birth records - well, turns out many just chose January 1.

Business Insider points to immigration data from 2009 that shows 11,000 of the nearly 80,000 refugees to the U.S. that year listed January 1 as their birth date. That's 14%, improbably high even if you don't assume an even distribution of births throughout the year, which you shouldn't, at least for people born in the U.S.

For native-born Americans, New Year's Day is actually one of the least popular birthdays. FiveThirtyEight looked at birth data from 1994 to 2014 and ranked January 1 365th of 366 days, ahead of only Christmas Day. They pointed to lots of variables to explain the popularity and unpopularity of particular dates, like parents inducing labor in order to avoid a holiday at a hospital or a Leap Day or even a Friday the 13.

Now, flip that data on its head, and you'll find some of the most popular birthdays land in the middle of September, which is just about nine months from, well, right now. Happy holidays, indeed. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.