Mariya Chukhnova (MARS-REERS '20) Writes on the Leap Year Marriage Gap in Ukraine

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Mariya Chukhnova (MARS-REERS '20) writes in Eurasianet on how Ukrainian superstition that it is unlucky to wed during a leap year is reflected in government demographic data:

"It is widely believed among Ukrainians that leap years tend to be unlucky. This notion is reflected in some government demographic data, such as figures showing Ukrainian citizens demonstrably more hesitant to marry in years when February has an extra day.
The annual number of marriages in Ukraine has fallen precipitously since Ukraine gained independence almost three decades ago. In 1991, the year of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine registered 493,100 marriages; by 2019, the number had declined to about 237,900, according to the government’s statistics agency, Ukrstat. Amid this downward trend, every leap year but one has seen significantly lower marriage numbers than in both the preceding and following years."