Does month of birth matter? Educational, health and labour market outcomes in Northern Ireland.

There is an extensive literature on the effects of birth month on educational, labour market, and health outcomes in later life. In England and Wales, there is evidence that those with summer births in July and August have poorer educational and labour market outcomes (see for example Crawford et al 2007) and in the USA it has been suggested that those with winter births experience poorer later outcomes (Buckles et al 2010). This proposal aims to extend this work to Northern Ireland by considering, for the first time in this context, the impact of birth month on later life and health outcomes. It also seeks to make a comparative contribution since the difference in the definition of the school year between Northern Ireland (starting on July 1st) and England & Wales (starting on September 1st) offers much potential for cross-national comparative analysis.

The work programme has two stages. Firstly, it compares descriptively educational, health, and labour market outcomes in 2011 for all age groups with those born in May/June contrasted with those born in July/August, December/January and those born in other months of the year. A focus within this strand of work will be on examining inequalities in outcomes for different age cohorts (e.g. those born in the 1950s, those born in the 1960s and so on) to examine how any differential outcomes vary by age cohort. Secondly, it then looks at outcomes for NILS members aged 16-26 in 2011 controlling for the socio-economic context and characteristics of the household in which they were resident in 2001 (when members were aged 6-16) plus birth month to make a more formal model-based estimation of the impact of birth month on education, labour market and health outcomes in early adulthood.

The analysis will, if possible, also consider effects of area deprivation on the months of birth of NILS members, as well as consider the possible role of area deprivation as a confounding variable.



Doebler, S., Shuttleworth, I., Gould, M., 2017. ‘Does the Month of Birth Affect Educational and Health Outcomes? A Population-Based Analysis Using the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study’. Econ. Soc. Rev. 48, 281–304.


Other Outputs:

Doebler, S. (2014) ‘Does the Month of Birth affect Educational Success Later in Life?‘ – Presented at the British Society for Population Studies conference on 10th September 2014.

Research Team: Dr Ian Shuttleworth, Dr Stefanie Doebler and Dr Myles Gould
Database: NILS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): Queen’s University Belfast and University of Leeds