Barca win trig­gered baby boom: study

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Paris

Barcelona’s run to the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal in May 2009 trig­gered a surge in lo­cal births, but rather less than com­monly be­lieved, re­searchers said on Tues­day.

Some me­dia said the birth rate in Cat­alo­nia rose by an as­ton­ish­ing 45 per­cent nine months af­ter a dra­matic semi­fi­nal that saw An­dres Ini­esta score an in­jury-time win­ner against Chelsea.

The vic­tory put Barca into the fi­nal of Europe’s top club tro­phy, where it went on to crush ti­tle­holder Manch­ester United three weeks later.

In an off­beat pa­per pub­lished in the Bri­tish Med­i­cal Jour­nal, health statis­ti­cians in Barcelona ex­plored whether the tale of the “Ini­esta gen­er­a­tion” was true or hype.

They looked at births reg­is­tered in the cen­tral Cata­lan coun­ties of Sol­sones and Bages in Fe­bru­ary and March 2010.

Twenty- six more ba­bies were born in Fe­bru­ary com­pared to the same month in pre­ced­ing years — a “sig­nif­i­cant” in­crease of 16.1 per­cent, al­though still short of the re­ported 45 per­cent.

In the fol­low­ing month, there was an 11 per­cent in­crease in births com­pared to March in pre­vi­ous years, the re­searchers found.

The delir­ium of vic­tory may in­deed have led to a rise in pro­cre­ation — just as Spain’s grim econ­omy is caus­ing a fall in fer­til­ity as cou­ples de­cide not to have chil­dren, said the study.

“Our re­sults may have sev­eral dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions,” said Je­sus Mon­tesinos at the Xarxa As­sis­ten­cial Uni­ver­si­taria de Manresa in Barcelona.

“One is that hu­man emo­tions on a large scale can pro­foundly af­fect de­mo­graphic swings in pop­u­la­tions, that na­tional or re­gional events can re­duce the weight of rea­son and in­crease the weight of pas­sion.”

Un­der­stand­ing how or why this hap­pens would be a use­ful aid to de­mog­ra­phy, Mon­tesinos said.

With a touch of hu­mor, the re­port said — as sci­en­tists in­vari­ably do — that fur­ther re­search is needed.

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