According to both common sense and some new research, when it's super hot out, people are less inclined to have frequent sex. And now economists are worried that with rising global temperatures due to global warming, this could mean way fewer babies -- which could be very bad for the economy, but would actually be good for the environment.
According to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, hot weather can dramatically reduce "coital frequency," which in turn leads to lower birth rates.
Bloomberg Business explained that economists from Tulane University, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Central Florida looked at 80 years of temperature and fertility data for the U.S. and discovered that "an extra 'hot day' [of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter]...leads to a 0.4 percent drop in birth rates nine months later or 1,165 fewer deliveries across the U.S."
The researchers assumed that climate change will continue at the pace of current trends (if no major changes are made to reduce emissions and slow the process), and predicted that from 2070-2090, the U.S. might have 64 more days that are hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit than we did from 1990-2002 -- which could mean as many as 107,000 fewer babies born each year.
Bloomberg also noted that "birth rates do not bounce back completely after heat waves," which can be really problematic for economies, since there are fewer workers contributing and fewer consumers buying. Interestingly, though, scientists have pointed out that a reduction in the number people on the planet would be actually great for the environment, since it would also go a long way toward reducing the emissions that are causing climate change.
"The rise of air conditioning may have helped offset some heat-related fertility losses in the U.S. since the 1970s," Bloomberg added. And the researchers concluded that "air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change." Also a bit of a catch 22, since air conditioners are also contributing to climate change.