General Question

gorillapaws's avatar

How does one calculate the legal age of someone born on leap day?

Asked by gorillapaws (25497points) February 28th, 2012

If someone is born on leap day, how is their birthday calculated for legal reasons on non-leap years? For example, is their 21’s birthday calculated on the 28th of February or the 1st of March. I can think of dozens of weird and unlikely scenarios where this could actually make a difference.

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15 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Legally their birthdate is considered as the last day of the month of February, at least in my state.

YARNLADY's avatar

The legal age is still the same as every other person. The entire year has passed and therefore it counts as another year.

For legal purposes, the date remains the same every year, no matter what, as in my Mother In Law was born on February 29, 1923, and that never changes. She was 88 years old last year and turns 89 this year.

I can’t think of any instance where the actual number of the day would matter.

gorillapaws's avatar

@YARNLADY Here’s a thought experiment: say a girl is born on leap day. Let’s say that in her state the age for statutory rape is 16 if they guy is older than 21. It’s February 28 and she’s turing 16 that year and has sex with her 20-year old boyfriend as they celebrate her birthday. Maybe her parents catch them and want to press charges, does the boyfriend have his life ruined? According to @WestRiverrat it sounds like the answer is no. Similar scenarios are imaginable with alcohol and 21’s birthday parties, or other quirky things like that.

I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the year only “counts” towards their age on leap years. I apologize if the question was confusing on that point.

YARNLADY's avatar

@gorillapaws Oh, I get it now

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

After March 3, they are whatever age they’re supposed to be.

cheebdragon's avatar

รท by 4?

Jack79's avatar

I assume that you have to make it to midnight of the 28th (to have sex, alcohol, drive, vote or whatever else you were waiting for).

Interestingly enough the girl in your example will turn 16 on a leap year, so has to wait for sure until the 29th. For things that happen when you’re 18 or 21, I guess there’s some law somewhere that nobody ever bothers to read. It’s such an exreme scenario that it’s even possible that they didn’t think about it, and in that case it would be up to the judge to decide (eg whether the alcohol consumer had turned 21 or not and therefore whether to punish the vendor).

gorillapaws's avatar

@Jack79 good point about my example, it would work if she was turning 17 and that happened to be the age of consent in her state. Funny how I picked one of the few years where the leap year exception wouldn’t apply <smacks self in head>.

zenvelo's avatar

I knew a girl born on 2/29/56, she celebrated her 21st birthday on both the 28th and the 1st. Of course for her it was all about getting free drinks at the local bars.

Jeruba's avatar

This question is the premise of the operetta The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan. Poor Frederic thinks his contracted apprenticeship to the company of pirates is over now that he has reached the age of 21, and he is now free to wed the lovely Mabel. But alas, the contract says “his 21st birthday.” Since he was born on the 29th of February, after 21 years he is only “five—and a little bit over.” But the opera is a romantic comedy, so don’t worry, it’s going to turn out all right.

DrBill's avatar


1923 was not a leap year, 1924 was.

DrBill's avatar

Mine is considered March 1, in non leap years

YARNLADY's avatar

@DrBill oops, I calculated the date wrong on my napkin

sliceswiththings's avatar

Happy birthday, @DrBill !!

JLeslie's avatar

Parents are given the choice to celebrate the birthday Feb 28 or March 1. At least in VA That is how it was when my boyfriend’s nephew was born on Feb 29. Some people believe it should be March 1, the day after Feb 28. Some believe it should be Feb 28, so it is in the appropriate month the child was born. I would choose Feb 28 personally. I’m not much into horoscopes and things like that, but to me the child’s birthstone and flower is February.

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