How Climate Change Links to Low Birth Rates

The U.S. fertility rate dropped 59.8% in 2016 since the government started keeping records in 1909. From Glacier National park’s rapidly dissolving glaciers to high water temperatures in trout streams, the effects of a changing climate in Montana is affecting more than just the natural environment – but our fertility too. Understanding how climate change will affect fertility is vital to the economy as birth rates are already putting stress on funded programs by the working-age population, including Social Security.

Role of Birth Control in Climate Change

Global warming can affect fertility in two major ways. First, hot weather affects sexual behavior and arousal. After all, physically demanding activities are less attractive at high temperatures. Second, the climate could play a negative impact on reproductive health factors such as menstruation and sperm motility. In fact, research reveals how heat stress affects the reproductive functions in mammals, according to the Royal Society Publishing. As a result, both potential links are pointing towards climate change as a threat to human reproduction.


In countries with access to family planning and contraceptives, the average family size tends to fall within each generation. However, the world’s population is predicted to increase to 9 billion by 2050, with over 90% coming from developing countries. Experts in global warming have previously recommended cutting meat intake by reducing the numbers of animals using the world’s resources. It is also believed that while the normal population growth is unlikely to have a significant impact on climate change, it will certainly lead to increased demand for food and shelter – jeopardizing the environment’s struggle to adapt.

Climate’s Negative Effect on Fertility

Studies found that high temperatures have an adverse effect on fertility and birth rates, according to a report in the journal, Demography. The reduction in fertility transpired across all parts of the United States within hot-climate states such as Nevada, Texas, and Arizona. The study also revealed a backlash of increased birth rates after recovering from warm climates. However, environmentalists might be tempted to read the findings as positive news as humans cause carbon emissions – limiting birth rates, population growth, and slower improvements on climate change.

While the global climate is just one of the many causes that affect human fertility, it is also important to consider how high-temp nations like India and Africa still have high birth rates. In fact, climate change will shift more births from spring to summer months, which could ultimately affect the overall pre-natal health.