June 12, 2013

Twins galore in Wilmette, Illinois

From the Daily Mail:
Seeing double... 24 times! Illinois middle school breaks world record for having the most sets of twins in a single grade 
The breakdown: Three sets of boy-boy twins, 11 sets of girl-girl twins and 10 sets of boy-girl twins  
The two sets of identical twins are girls 
Three other schools hold current record of 16 pairs of twins 
An Illinois middle school has broken the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most sets of twins in a single grade - two dozen of them. 
Twin boys Luke and Ryan Novosel, both 11, discovered the fact when they began counting up all the other twins in their Highcrest Middle School directory, in Wilmette, Ill. while trying to find a way into the reference book.

Couple of comments:

- Fraternal twins are a lot more common than identical twins, even though we notice identicals far more.

- It's not a surprise that Wilmette has so many twins. Wilmette is a very nice suburb on Chicago's North Shore, just north of Evanston. It's one of those socialism-for-people-who-don't-need-socialism communities where you pay huge property taxes and get back wonderful government services for your kids. Park fieldhouses, for example, are palaces with remarkable amounts of equipment, such as full sets of Olympic gymnastics training equipment. New Trier HS, for instance, probably had the first high school FM station in the country.

Homes in Wilmette are expensive. My wife and I spent many a Sunday touring open houses of the worst houses in Wilmette, trying to get a foot in the door of Wilmette, including one that I swear started off as a WWII Quonset hut. So, the high cost means it attracts couples who don't have children until later in life, which seems to lead to twinning (am I right about that?) and to fertility treatments (which definitely lead to twinning).

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I never thought to ask before: are there racial differences in twinning?

Anonymous said...

Ah, fertility treatments, yes. That would account for increased multiple births.

However, if we looked at births, say, in the post WW2 era up to the era where fertility treatments were possible, would we see large differences in twinning among whites, Asians, blacks?

Is twinning

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, Rushton pointed out blacks have more and Asians fewer. I forget whether it was confined to fraternal or identical twins, however.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that inner city schools don't hold the record. Persons of African descent are about four times as likely as persons of European descent to have multiparous births. And continuing the pattern, persons of European descent are about four times as likely to have multiparous births as persons of Southeast Asian descent. Is there something deeper going on here that is worth further exploration?

Dahlia said...

The breakdown: Three sets of boy-boy twins, 11 sets of girl-girl twins and 10 sets of boy-girl twins

The two sets of identical twins are girls.


Timely, was just reading up on Siamese twins with my kids a few hours ago and learned that Siamese twins are more common among girls, too. According to wikipedia the ratio is 3:1. I didn't realize there were gender differences in twinning.

I bet you're hunch is right that older parents and high cost of living are the key factors.
Also, aren't girls slightly more likely to be conceived by older mothers, too? Or at least borne?

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Yes, affluent neighborhoods have more twins, in my observation. Walk down Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda some weekend afternoon, you'll be amazed at how many double baby carriages/bicycle trailers there are.

When I first saw the blog entry title, I thought, geez, I'll bet Wilmette is an upper middle class/later fertility kind of place & sure enough it is.

dearieme said...

I'm a twin. My parents were in their middle thirties. Their plans had been disrupted by Dad having to go away to kill Germans.

slumber_j said...

A friend of mine who lives there likes to call his town "hail fellow Wilmette."

Anonymous said...

In America blacks don't have more twins than whites, they have the same frequency. In a few parts of Africa where red meat and tubers are staples, along with extended breastfeeding as a cultural norm, fraternal twin conception is quite high.

Twinning is a very skewed phenomenon. If there is a strong genetic predilection, the women in a given family will have twins most of the time regardless of maternal age. If there is a slight genetic predilection, the following lifestyle factors come into play: maternal age, tuber staple consumption over grain/rice staple consumption, red meat consumption over fish/pork consumption, and breastfeeding for more than 12 months.

And it's a package deal, all those factors affect twinning frequency, but only together. Maternal age is perhaps the only optional thing on the list.

So women who want twins can just wolf beef and potatoes (or goat and yams, the African variation) and breastfeed past 12 months and then they will have something like a 30% likelihood of twins for any given conception.

Michael Ryan said...

yes blacks have twice as many as whiites who have twice as many as asains

as said...

Rushton on twins: He says it's the fraternal twin rates.

He also mentions fraternal triplets.

Anonymous said...

1 in 3 sets of twins are identical. identical female twins are more common than identical male twins. pretty much all the fertility treatment twins are fraternal.

I would guess that at least 1/2 of those twins are the result of fertility treatments which is expensive.

Anonymous said...

If there is a genetic factor at play in twins and more twins survive under modern medical conditions then we should see more and more twins every generation?

Cail Corishev said...

A small rural school near me (also in Illinois, but downstate) has something like two sets of triplets and two sets of twins -- in a class of about 30 kids. I think they're all related. All white, by the way. The same area once had the oldest living set of triplets, about a century ago. Might be something in the water.

Douglas Knight said...

Identical twins are sufficiently rare and, moreover, uncertain, that no one has a grasp on racial difference in their rates. I think there were some papers a few years ago claiming certain small populations to have high rates, though.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, my comment at 1:46 is solely about fraternal twinning. There is not any genetic component to identical twins or higher-order multiples.

Except possibly via some intersection with PCOS, as that is correlated with higher-order conceptions (though not necessarily surviving, term deliveries).

Anonymous said...

Steve, I believe the racial differences were only for fraternal twins.


In America blacks don't have more twins than whites, they have the same frequency. In a few parts of Africa where red meat and tubers are staples, along with extended breastfeeding as a cultural norm, fraternal twin conception is quite high.

Twinning is a very skewed phenomenon. If there is a strong genetic predilection, the women in a given family will have twins most of the time regardless of maternal age. If there is a slight genetic predilection, the following lifestyle factors come into play: maternal age, tuber staple consumption over grain/rice staple consumption, red meat consumption over fish/pork consumption, and breastfeeding for more than 12 months.


Source?

Anonymous said...

"Among the three largest racial/origin groups in the United States, the twinning rates in 2009 are as follows:

Non-Hispanic White: 37 per 1,000
Non-Hispanic Black: 38 per 1,000
Hispanic: 22.5 per 1,000
For triplets and other higher order multiples, the rates for 2009 are:

Non-Hispanic White 201.4 per 100,000
Non-Hispanic Black 105.6 per 100,000
Hispanic 83.5 per 100,000"

The rest is from very boring analysis of diet, maternity and birth data from selected countries and populations in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and this will really blow your mind, but this documentation of American twinning from the 40s
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1209409/pdf/263.pdf
shows that white women have always had a massive triplet+ conception rate compared to all other races.

That older research also shows pre-ART blacks and whites in America having differing twin curves-- blacks had a high frequency when young, with a drop in the 30s, while white women had a low frequency when young with a big increase in the 30s, converging with the black twinning rate. So the current highly similar twin rates between American blacks and whites are probably a mixture of older maternal age in both groups plus ART primarily for white women.

So, white women throw litters more than everyone else, black women have a high likelihood of twins while young which plunges with age, and everyone else just plain doesn't have twins or litters remotely as often unless there is a specific genetic tendency.

x said...

i'm a twin.

anony-mouse said...

Doesn't having kids later in life cause those offspring to have lower IQ's (among other problems)?

Anonymous said...

The high twin rate at elite firms like Boston Consulting Group is a running joke among employees. This past month, I joined my girlfriend on a company vacation to the Cape, and I can confirm that the high number of twin children was impossible not to notice.

Anonymous said...

Steve, having lived in Chicagoland, you should post on the North Shore suburbs more.

I've lived on the North Shore for pretty much my whole life (New Trier HS alum), and it's a fantastic place to live, but it's also quietly self-parodic in iSteve-ish ways.

Parts of the North Shore retain a very WASPy, conservative character, but there are also a lot of upscale liberals here (many but by no means all of them Jewish).

I sometimes wonder about the cognitive dissonance of North Shore liberals. Do the diversiphiles recognize that they live in a de-facto-segregated Ice People bubble? Do they understand that the ample school budgets are a less decisive a factor than the Anglo-Jewish-Asian student body? Do they recognize how property prices and taxes provide the kind of barrier to entry that poorer white folks in "vibrant" neighborhoods would never be allowed to erect?

I also ask myself about the more conservative types. Are they aware of the costs they're externalizing to society so that their lawns can be immaculately tended by teams of campesinos? And would they rather have their great-grandchildren inherit a nation or a plantation?

I really don't think people here are willful hypocrites. Most of the people here are hard-working, talented, and successful. The communities are safe, leafy, and well-run. It's a great place to grow up.

So it's in a spirit of respect and good faith that I would ask my neighbors, "Why the hell would we want to make America look less and less like Wilmette?"

Steve Sailer said...

"Why the hell would we want to make America look less and less like Wilmette?"

Well said.

I never moved to the North Shore but my wife and I spent years discussing these kind of questions with other young couples considering moving to the North Shore, so that's where much of my current viewpoint comes from -- I'm just generalizing from the kind of real estate discussions that all yuppies have had.

Glanville's Cocaine said...

I think it not only leads to twinning, but it seems lead to kids that are more likely than normal to have problems- autism, congential problems, etc.

To some extent that may be a factor of multiple births, and a factor of the increase average age of the mother (with a smidgen of impact from the increased average age of the father as well). But one wonders how much is also due to the artificial treatments- frozen eggs or sperm, artificial media, exposure to the external environment, hormone injections, etc. that create these issues.

Just have your kids the old fashioned way, when you're still in your 20s- 30s. Its more fun, safer for everyone, and it will save you $50K.

McGillicuddy said...

"Why the hell would we want to make America look less and less like Wilmette?”

Well, at least Sen. Kirk, a WASP from the ultimate Chicago WASP town, Kenilworth, voted against bringing forth the amnesty bill for debate. That’s about as far as WASP resistance goes these days.

lowly said...

Lefties are wimps, and wimps give birth to girl children. So yes, that would be group with socialist parents.

tenneby said...

"Why the hell would we want to make America look less and less like Wilmette?"

So they have more and more people to look down on. Think of it in Calvinist terms (even though few of these people are Calvinist or even know what Calvinism is), by making an obvious display of their socio-econimic superiority they are demonstrating their "electness" or moral superiority. What happens to their descendants doesn't matter; if they're elect they'll live well but if they're not elect then they'll get what they deserve with the rest of the hoi polloi. In either case, it's out of the current generations hands.

Anonymous said...

artificial insemination?

Anonymous said...

You're probably right about the 'fertility treatment' Steve.

Actually, the Yoruba of Nigeria have the world's highest rate of 'natural twinning', this is repeated in their descendants in America and elsewhere. All to do with Rushtons r/K apparently.
In that photo, Yoruba-like faces were conspicuous by their absence.

Anonymous said...

Margaret Thatcher had twins and ( I think ) commented that doing so is advantageous for a woman who is serious about her career ( ie less time out of the game )

Dahinda said...

I lived for a while in Northbrook, also a North Shore town, and you are pretty much right on the money with fertility treatments as the explaination.

Bud Fox said...

They almost always put in at least two eggs with IVF. It is expensive and raises the odds. If too many attach insurance starts to pay for high risk care and, sadly, reductions. As you get older they put in more and more. Or if 3 failed they will try 5 the next time. The eggs seem to have a higher chance of splitting into identical twins. They also think IVF children have slighly lower IQs than normally conceived children.

Jeffrey S. said...

My daughter, who loves gymnastics and is on the team at the (in)famous Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles had her birthday party at the gymnastics park district facility in Wilmette. Unbelievable -- the equipment was top notch and even the kid coaches were delightful (trim and fit)!

I love Wilmette!

Anonymous said...

"Jeffrey S. said...
My daughter, who loves gymnastics and is on the team at the (in)famous Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles had her birthday party at the gymnastics park district facility in Wilmette. Unbelievable -- the equipment was top notch and even the kid coaches were delightful (trim and fit)!

I love Wilmette!

6/13/13, 8:26 AM"


enjoy it while it lasts.

like 1950's USA, it is a fleeting moment.