Century Birthday

Century Birthday

Organisation: La Nación (Costa Rica) (Costa Rica)

Publication Date: 04/07/2016


Century Birthday reviewed 115 years of the history of births in Costa Rica. The leading goal was determining, upon a historical basis, in which month the most births happen. The special made it possible to demonstrate that the assertion that September was the month when the most children were born in the country was a myth. October, actually, was the king of births between 1900 and 2014. Also, the application makes it possible to compare the number of births per canton and provides information on the historical, political, social, economic, and health environment in which births have taken place in the study period. Users can enter their date of birth and learn how many other Costa Ricans celebrate their birthday on that date. Moreover, through a statistical model, it was possible to estimate the behavior of births in the country during the next decade. The video which discloses what potentially might happen with births, month by month, in the next decade, is based upon an analysis of times series between 1900 and 2014. The model was built with the assistance of Erick Rodriguez, a professional in Business Intelligence and Data Mining. To that end, the R program was used. It is important to bear in mind that this outlook is an academic exercise and that its outcome may vary in the future, depending on the economy, new contraceptive methods and lifestyles, among other factors. The true monthly information of 115 years of births in Costa Rica became a time series, which was divided into two parts: one for learning and another for trial. With the trial series, several versions of the model were developed and the one that provided the best result in relation to error and comparison with the original (true) series was selected. The winning model was used for the first time with the data from the whole series, and the prediction was made. In addition, the total of births from the current year through 2024 was completed with those results. The estimated data for those 10 years were included in a series in which, starting in 1950, the gross birth rate (births per each 1,000 inhabitants) was estimated. This with the aim of showing that, even if the number of births increases and there is more population, the number of babies per couple will be increasingly lower. The projections of the population from the Central American Population Center for the period between 1950 and 2024 were used to estimate the rates per 1,000 inhabitants. An analysis of hierarchical clusters, using Euclidean distance, was applied also to the series of data with the years and overall births. The aim was creating groups of years whose behavior had been similar regarding the number of births. The aim was creating groups of years whose behavior had been similar regarding the number of births. The fourth among them broke the year sequence and showed that the number of newborns in the last decade and a half is similar to the one in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


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