Different Factors Affecting Human Fertility
Climate change could affect human fertility, relentless droughts, melting polar ice, or mosquitoes transmitting diseases. This is happening all over the planet.
Even though Climate Change Could Affect Human Fertility, It is difficult to establish a prior relationship between climate change and fertility. The fact is that foreseeable changes in climate will also affect our way of life. Therefore, an indirect consequence of this will also be the increase or decrease in the number of children we have.
These conclusions of a work just published by an international team of scientists in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The researchers examined the economic channels through which climate change could end up affecting human fertility. This includes the sectoral reallocation of employment, the gender wage gap, longevity, and infant mortality.
Through its effects on the economy, climate change could have a substantial impact on fertility, since people decide how much time and money they spend raising their children, and they value whether to use their resources to have more children or to invest in each child’s future.
Childhood and Adulthood
To arrive at their conclusions, scientists used a model that combines standard economic-demographic theory with the current estimate of the economic consequences of climate change. The model establishes two stages in the life of each individual: childhood and adulthood. In adult life, parents must decide how to distribute resources, limited in this scenario of global change, to support family consumption, have children and also pay for the education of each child. On the other hand, the future income of the children also depends on the decisions made by the parents.
The researchers also examined two economies as an example: Colombia and Switzerland.
Increase or Decrease in Fertility and Education
One of the main results of the work is that the demographic impacts of climate change will not affect all countries equally. “Our model suggests that climate change can worsen inequalities by reducing fertility and increasing education in the richer countries of the North while increasing fertility and reducing education in tropical countries,” warns Soheil Shayegh, a researcher at the Bocconi University of Milan (Italy) and one of the authors of the study.
Increase in Global Temperature
” The increase in global temperature affects differently the economies based on agriculture than other sectors. We know that near the equator, where many poorer countries located, climate change will have a negative effect on agriculture, “explains Gregory Casey, a researcher at Williams College in Massachusetts (USA) and lead author of the work. “This leads to the shortage of agricultural products, to the price increase and, ultimately, to a reallocation of labor, because agriculture does not need such a skilled workforce, our model showed that the changing climate decreases the ‘performance of skill acquisition’, which leads parents to invest fewer resources in each child’s education and increase fertility. ”
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The authors acknowledge the use of only one economic channel, hence data should be taken cautiously.
So, they do not intend to provide a quantitative explanation of the impact of climate change on demographic results. More work needed in other economic channels, especially those related to health, “adds Casey. In any case, the population most affected by the social consequences of climate change taken into consideration.
According to the research, Our results are striking. It is because the richest countries benefitted more disproportionately from the use of natural resources that have driven climate change.
If the predictions are true, the new global policies will necessarily avoid that. Once again, the same people affected as earlier.