Climate Change Could Become Your Back-up Form of Birth Control

A new study claims that climate change contributes to lower fertility rates.

Using 80 years of US temperature and fertility records, researchers found that birth rates have been in decline for nearly a century. The data indicate that hot weather results in a significant decline in birth rates nine months later; hot weather is referred to as being 80℉ or above.

The result of this phenomenon is nearly 1,200 less births per hot day in the United States.

One question the researchers sought to answer was if fertility rates spike back up during the colder months. Unfortunately, rates only climbed 30% above the nine month decline.

The study acknowledged other factors influencing child-birth during warm months, such as the rise of food prices and lower incomes, or just plain discomfort. Also, the authors admit that high temperatures are not the only contributor to decreased fertility rates over the past century—contraceptives and more workplace opportunities for women are major factors.

The researchers emphasize that, using the worst-case-scenario climate change trajectory model, birth rates from 2070-2099 may decline almost 3%, or 100,000 fewer births.

The authors’ solution to the lower birth rates of millions of Americans? Air conditioning.


Author: Taylor Lyon

I am a freelance science writer with an emphasis in global health and environmental news. 
I'm currently pursuing a Master's degree in global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley. 
I am based in Berkeley, California.

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