If you're a Virgo, or a Libra born in September, you might have won the astrological lottery: A new study by The National Bureau of Economic Research has suggested that children born in the month of September might just be smarter than those born during other months of the year. But before you start buying all of those horoscope books you've always bypassed in the bookstore that explain whether Virgos are the smartest, you might want to hold up, because there are a few other reasons for why kids born in September seem to have an intellectual leg up in school.
In the study, scientists analyzed the data of over 1.2 million children enrolled in Florida public schools, all of whom were between the ages of six and 15 years old. The research found that children born in September (regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, birth weight, and school disparity, among other factors) were, on average, scoring higher in both national and local testing than children born in any other month of the year.
But that's not all: Children born in September were also more likely to go to a good college later in life, and they were less likely to end up in a juvenile detention center, the study found.
So why is it that kids born in September seem to have such a huge advantage over others in terms of their education?
As it turns out, the correlation between the month you were born and your academic success seems to have way less to do with the alignment of the stars, and much more to do with the relative maturity of a child in a given grade in school.
Children born in September are generally the oldest kids in any given grade, while children born in August tend to be the youngest. It would follow, then, that being the oldest in your grade (especially at such a young age, when the brain is still developing at a rapid rate) would be a massive advantage for a child in any cognitive context.
Of course, plenty of astrologically-focused people might argue that this is a chicken-before-egg situation. After all, common Virgo attributes all point toward intellectual success: Virgos are often thought to be methodical, pay close attention to detail, and are incredibly practical, which are all characteristics that would totally benefit someone in school. Libras, some of whom are also September babies, are similarly said to possess traits that might lead them toward academic success: They tend to be very intelligent overall, and they have a keen eye for balance and symmetry.
Whether you buy the astrology argument or the maturity argument, there's definitely a strong incentive for parents to shoot for that September birth.
The practice of "parental redshirting" (holding your child back a year so that they're at an academic, athletic, or social advantage) has become increasingly popular for this reason exactly. During a child's formative years, a student born in September technically could have a full year's worth of advantage over a classmate born in July or August.
But if it gives children such massive advantages to be born in September, the next question that follows would naturally be if adults born in September continue to reap these benefits, or if these advantages fizzle out around college time.
There's no scientific proof that these benefits continue into a person's adult life.
Currently, there's no evidence to reflect whether these adolescent advantages continue to play out for adults, or whether the playing field starts to even out over the decades.
Of course, your formative education plays a massive role in the opportunities you get (or don't get) as an adult. In my opinion, hoping for a healthy baby is about the most important thing I'd care about when it comes to raising children, but perhaps that's because I'm a May baby, and this study says absolutely nothing positive about being a Taurus. Oh well!