How People Feel About Bdays: Totally Reliable Birthday Statistics

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Years ago I was surprised by the lack of scientific rigor (or would it be mathematical rigor) that went into some of the research I was finding about birthdays. Now, I changed my major in college to avoid taking statistics (no joke). But, I still can recognize a small sample size or faulty reasoning. So, at the time, I decided to make my own contribution to birthday science by posting a survey on this biggest of days online. I invited my readers to respond, so I could generate some birthday statistics. They did. What surprises me now, though? People are still responding.

Apparently there are people who go on Surveymonkey and just fill out random surveys. Weirdly, I’ve had a bump in responses to the survey since November of 2020. So maybe COVID-19 lockdown had something to do with it? 

Or maybe Surveymonkey itself has people do it so that I’ll be driven to pay the fee to “go pro” and see all the answers. As it is, I can only see 40 people’s answers and the rest are deleted if left too long. Since I don’t want to pay $25 a month (or more!) for what was a lark anyway, I can’t tell you how many responses I’ve lost since opening the survey in 2016. However, I do know I don’t want the kindness of strangers who have taken the time to answer to go unappreciated. 

Thus, forthwith, and with great fanfare, I will now share my highly reliable, uber-scientific/mathematic, rigorously tested answers to pressing questions about birthdays.

Completely Reliable Birthday Statistics

To my initial surprise, 9 of my 40 friendly respondents (or 23.08%) said they do not “actively celebrate” their own birthdays. What an opportunity missed, I say! But at least it makes my birthday statistics more credible.

However, the majority of respondents do make the biggest deal about their own birthday (41.03%) with a “family member’s birthday (not furry)” coming second (23.08%) and a friend’s birthday a close third (20.51%).

Parties and cake were tied for top way to celebrate, but dinner with family or friends was a really close second (the difference between 22 responses and 21). No one in the survey went for spending their birthday in “quiet introspection.” But those who picked other and shared their ideas suggested they would want to celebrate with:

  • A fake ID
  • Sleepover with friends
  • Get money
  • Gifts
  • A drive-by sweet 16 (obviously a COVID response, unless they really meant that they wanted a car to drive!)

When asked to rank what they’d prefer to receive, gifts were no. 1 with phone calls and a surprise party next on the list. Social media greetings was fourth…so that tells me you should just pick up the phone and share some birthday love next time around!

The birthday statistic that made me happiest? The vast majority (61.54%) said the time to stop celebrating birthdays was “never!” I couldn’t agree more. 

Next time I write, I’ll share what people responded when asked what their best birthday gifts were!

Donating a Birthday

When I go to lunch at my son’s school one of the typical topics of conversation is birthday parties. Who is having one. Who will be invited. Where the party will be held. What awesome presents the excited child can expect. This conversation happens even when no one at the table has a birthday party for another six months!

Yet there are kids who do not have a home at which to celebrate a birthday. It’s not that their families don’t want to give the child a special day — they can’t.

That’s where a well-intentioned organization such as Birthday Blessings comes in. According to their site, their goal “is to bring joy, recognition and support to homeless children and families during difficult times in their lives.” Birthday Blessings is local to Charlotte where I live. A student in one of my classes researching a non-profit introduced me to the organization. Then, my son’s school hosted a Birthday Blessings party, too. What a joy it is to help homeless children celebrate and feel special!

Another organization with a similar goal that I recently encountered is Celebration Cakes Ministry in Kentucky which bakes birthday cakes for children referred by social workers and other agencies.

Is there a birthday-themed organization where you live? I’d love to learn about more of these great ideas!

Profile photos by: D Sharon Pruitt of http://www.pinksherbet.com

Photo by: D Sharon Pruitt of http://www.pinksherbet.com