Although it didn't actually happen, people love to talk about how the giant Northeast Blackout of 1965 led to a dramatic increase in the birth rate in New York City. Similarly, despite more than a few anecdotal accounts of post-9/11 "terror sex," there wasn't an upsurge in births then, either.
As long as we're examining the real-life validity of pseudo-logical post-disaster outcomes (perfect fodder for bite-size news releases from the media relations departments of our nation's universities!), someone should examine what happens to Houston's divorce rate in the wake of last week's mass evacuation, which cooped up millions of couples in non-air conditioned cars stuck in gridlocked traffic for hours on end with no gas.
Though some emergencies bring people closer, this one seems like a custom-made brooder house for marriage-ending arguments. You could easily run through a lifetime of domestic disputes in one full day of paralyzed, sweltering traffic. If we do see a rash of evacuation-related bust-ups, perhaps we can station relationship counselors alongside those tanker trucks next time we have ourselves a Texodus.
By the way, I borrowed the term "Texodus" from the Houston Chronicle's Stormwatchers blog. It's a fine nickname for the evacuation spawned by Hurricane Rita and I for one hope it sticks.
2 hours ago