“Happy Birthday to you!”
Of the nine Wheaton Community members that responded to this question, five people, (56 percent), said that there are 366 birthdays, two people (22 percent), said that there are over 7.5 billion birthdays, and the remaining two people (22 percent), said that it depends on how you view the question. Some of the arguments supported the 366 birthdays answer.
“Multiple people can have the same birthday, so they’re not unique. I think an argument could be that people born on the same day are born at different times, so it could be like different birthdays, but I think the word birth “day” means generally just the day, so 366 [birthdays],” said Mike Peppin ’22.
Eva Danielson ’22, supports this argument by definitively saying, “This is actually a math question: it’s 366 [birthdays].”
Lastly, Rachel Pink, the Assistant Director of Campus Life Operations supported the idea that there are 366 birthdays in the world since humans associate the word “birthday” to mean just a day that can be shared by multiple people.
“If we discovered that we were both born on June 6th, we would say that we have the same birthday,” said Pink.
In support of there being over 7.5 billion birthdays, one for each person in the world, Lisa Leggett, Area Coordinator for MLKCC, explained that everyone has their own birthday “because everyone’s an individual.” She brought up the point about the individuality of the human species being the factor that causes the word “birthday” to be in reference to each person in the world individually. It’s true that no one is the same, and no one was born at the exact same time in the exact same place, not even twins, who are at least born seconds apart.
Lastly, there were people like Eliza Denham ’23, responded that it “depends on how you ask: there are 7.5 billion birthdays and 366 birth ‘days’.”
“It depends on what you’re asking! How many days are someone’s birthday, or how many people have a birthday,” said Lydia Alberts ’22.
To these responses, all I have to say is, yeah, they’re right, that’s kind of the whole point of the question. The reason that the question is debatable is that it depends on the way you interpret it.
Yet, through research, I was able to determine what I believe to be the best answer to the question at hand. In an article by Reader’s Digest, it reads, “So, what’s the verdict? The number of people with the same date of birth as you is somewhere around 20.8 million. Yes, you share your big day with millions of people. Getting a little more specific, there are about 885,000 Americans with the same birthday as you.” From the line, “Yes, you share your big day with millions of people,” I have concluded that the best way to answer this question is to say that there are 366 different birthdays in the world.