Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Don't It Make My Blue Eyes Rare

Kimberly Powell spotted this story in the Boston Globe about the increasing rarity of blue eyes in America.

Once a hallmark of the boy and girl next door, blue eyes have become increasingly rare among American children. Immigration patterns, intermarriage, and genetics all play a part in their steady decline. While the drop-off has been a century in the making, the plunge in the past few decades has taken place at a remarkable rate.

About half of Americans born at the turn of the 20th century had blue eyes, according to a 2002 Loyola University study in Chicago. By mid-century that number had dropped to a third. Today only about one 1 of every 6 Americans has blue eyes, said Mark Grant, the epidemiologist who conducted the study. [Link]
I have blue eyes despite having a couple of 20th-century immigrants in the lower branches of my family tree. It may have helped that they immigrated from Finland—a country with perhaps the highest proportion of blue-eyed people on the planet.

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