Births in Allegheny County are expected to rise for the third consecutive year in 2017, but state Department of Health officials are hesitant to pin it on any one reason – especially a hockey game.
Pittsburghers who celebrated last year's Stanley Cup victory with intimate abandon would have given birth to their bundles of joy in the last couple weeks, just in time to watch the Penguins enter another playoff season.
"Absolutely not. At least not in my household," said Press Secretary April Hutcheson, a self-described diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan and life-long Eagles season ticket holder.
"And even if the Pens winning the cup meant more babies, we wouldn't be able to tell," she said.
Births by residence trended down in Allegheny County from 1990 to 2013 by 1.3 percent and swayed back up from 2014 to 2017 by about .03 percent.
It's modest but healthy growth, Hutcheson said.
The state issued 12,892 birth certificates for Allegheny County residents in 2010. About 13,427 are expected in 2017. Those figures are based on a combination of two models, the autoregressive integrated moving average and an exponential smoothing state space. They both consider population density, overall growth and resident demographics, Hutcheson said.
"A younger population is moving in," she said. "Maybe they're hockey fans."
Robert Crytzer, media relations manager for St. Clair Hospital, said his team had a good chuckle trying to look up the numbers. They thought they remembered one Super Bowl that filled the maternity ward – maybe.
“We didn’t really have a baby boom after the Stanley Cup win last year,” he said. “I wish. It’s the heavy snowstorms that really do that.”
Spokespeople at Highmark, Conemaugh Health System, UPMC and the Midwife Center all shook off the idea, too.
"I would like to say yes," said Conemaugh's Amy Bradley, but alas, no increase.
She joked that they have noticed several babies named Evgeni.
The Pens take on the Columbia Blue Jackets at home in Game 1 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.