Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Facts about Fathers

Statistics New Zealand usually put out a "Facts about Fathers" release for Father's Day. This year, 2006, they are saying, This Sunday 135 New Zealand men will get the ultimate Father's Day present: a baby.

Two years ago they said, A baby will be a Father's Day present for an estimated 170 men this year, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand.

In 2004 I asked why they hadn't adjusted the figure for all the babies who were born into single parent homes, some who would never know who their father is or even have his name on their birth certificate? Thousands of babies would be presents for the taxpayer, not fathers.

Now, I do not know exactly how they make this calculation. Given that babies rarely arrive on the due date, Father's Day is always on the same day in the week and time in the season, I can't think of any better way than to simply divide the September quarterly births by 91 days. Given the quarterly birth rates have consistently numbered around between 13,500 and 14,500 since at least 1992 I can see no reason for the variation from 2004 to 2006. Thirty five fewer fathers on Father's Day this year?

Perhaps Statistics New Zealand have decided to factor in what they missed in 2004.

Or perhaps there is simply some special calculation they use of which I am unaware. More babies are now being scheduled for caesarians and Father's Day is not a 'working' day but I doubt the calculation is been based on asking every maternity ward how many deliveries they are expecting this Sunday.

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