What are the Odds of Being Born on Leap Day?

Leap Day babies 1928

Getty Images circa 1928: Five babies, all born on 29th February, being cared for by nurses at Queen Charlotte's Hospital. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Saturday, February 29 is Leap Day, a special day that happens (almost) every four years in order to make sure the Gregorian calendar doesn’t shift away from the Earth’s seasons. With the day being much rarer than the other 365 days that happen in “common years,” what are the odds of being born on Leap Day?

The Odds of Being Born on Leap Day are Roughly 1 in 1500

Actually, the exact odds of being born on Leap Day are 1 in 1461. Here’s how the math breaks down.

There are 1460 days in four years. One extra day, aka Leap Day, nudges the total up to 1461 days, so your odds of being born on that extra day are therefore 1 in 1461 because the odds of being born are the same for every day.

By comparison, the odds of being born on any other given day in a calendar year are roughly four times that because each other given day occurs four times for every one Leap Day. So the odds of being born on, say, March 1 are 1 out of 365 (or 1 out of 366 in a Leap Year).

Being born on Leap Day may seem really rare, but actually, you have much better odds of being a “leapling” than getting attacked by a shark, which is roughly 1 in 60,000, or by getting struck by lightning, which is roughly 1 in 80,000, according to the New York Times. But all of those things pale in comparison to winning the lottery, the odds of which are roughly 1 in 300 million.

Famous Leap Day Babies

Perhaps the most famous leapling in this day and age is rapper Ja Rule, who was born on February 29, 1976. In 2016, he posted a photo to Instagram captioned, “My @foxtailatsls residency kick off crazy wit my 10th bday party lol.”

Other well-known modern leapers include singer Dinah Shore (1916), baseball player Al Rosen (1924), actor Joss Ackland (1928), radio announcer Jono Coleman (1956), motivational speaker Tony Robbins (1960), actor Wendi Louise Peters (1968), actor Antonio Sabato Jr. (1972), musician Chris Conley (1980), and British soccer player Darren Ambrose (1984).

Other famous leapers from history include Pop Paul III (1468), Gioachino Rossini, an Italian composer who wrote the “William Tell Overture” and was born in 1792, film director William A. Wellman, who was born in 1896 and directed Wings, the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar, and former Indian prime minister Morarji Desai (1896).

The only person known to have been both born and died on Leap Day is Sir James Milne Wilson of Scotland who was the premier of Tasmania from 1869 to 1872. Wilson was born on February 29, 1812, and died on February 29, 1880. At the time of his death, hew as celebrating his “17th” birthday.

Finally, according to the Daily Mirror, the Henriksen family of Norway has three children born on Leap Days — a daughter in 1960, a son in 1964, and a son in 1968 — and the Keogh family in Ireland has a granddaughter born on Leap Day 1996, her father born on Leap Day 1964, and her grandfather born on Leap Day 1940.

So, raise a glass to any Leap Day babies by making the actual Leap Day cocktail, which was invented on Leap Day 1928, according to Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book (via The Kitchn). The cocktail requires 2 oz gin, 3/4 oz orange liqueur, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, and 1/8 oz lemon juice. Mix and serve in a chilled glass.

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