Global warming curbs sex drive and birth rates, experts from the National Bureau of Economic Research have revealed.
Economists from the University of Central Florida, Tulane University and the University of California-Santa Barbara have reviewed the last 80 years, in order to establish a potential connection between natality rates and average temperatures.
They published their results in a paper titled “Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates”.
It was determined that when it’s hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, birth rates experience a significant downturn in the following 10 months.
This is because high temperatures tend to result in diminished “coital frequency”, due to decreased sexual appetite. Also, women suffer from ovulation issues as a result of hormonal fluctuations, while men’s semen quality is affected, and fertility is disrupted.
Although would-be parents tend to compensate for this during cooler months, and conception rates are heightened when autumn comes, natality still suffers a decline, and population growth is stalled.
For every day with excessive temperatures, birth rates drop by as much 0.4% in the next 9 months, the equivalent of 1,165 fewer babies being born in the United States.
Although it has been shown that conception rates grow as it gets colder outside, only around 32% of the gap in natality caused by hot weather is actually covered.
It is also predicted that if greenhouse gas emissions remain unregulated and no measures are taken to safeguard the ecosystem, the number of annual births will suffer an even more staggering decline.
More precisely, according to estimations, from 2070 until the end of the century, there will be 64 more days with temperatures surpassing 80 degrees Fahrenheit, than in the period between 1990 and 2002, when 31 such days were recorded. As a result, natality will drop by around 2.6%, the equivalent of 107,000 fewer deliveries.
Based on these findings, researchers believe that three factors should be taken into account, in order to respond to this surprising trend resulting from global warming.
The most important aspect is the fact that birth rates don’t make a full recovery following months with record-breaking high temperatures.
As the effects of climate change become more palpable, developed countries which are already affected by low, sub-replacement fertility rates might struggle even more with a shrinking and aging population.
This will have negative effects on the economy as well, since the number of working-age people who pay Social Security benefits and other contributions will gradually decline. There will also be fewer children and young adults left to support the elderly.
Even the Chinese government which had previously implemented a one-child policy has become aware of this alarming trend, and has doubled the number of kids a family can have.
Another aspect which requires attention from authorities is the fact that heat waves make it more likely for couples to conceive children during cooler autumn months, which leads to a higher number of deliveries during summer.
This is detrimental to new-born babies, possibly due to exposure to high temperatures during the third trimester of pregnancy, which causes a slew of health issues and complications.
It may also be linked to greater scarcity of nutrition and water during drought, or to the fact that shorter nights aren’t sufficient to provide infants with the amount of sleep they need for their adequate development and growth.
The last point to be considered is that air-conditioning might help combat this decline in fertility caused by global warming.
By maintaining home temperatures at cooler, more comfortable levels, it is believed this type of equipment has actually reduced the impact of climate change on the annual number of births, ever since the 1970’s.
Image Source: Pixabay