Published: 11/10/2023

Important new research co-authored by Stanford/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellow Elaine Flores illuminates how climate change is causing some people to re-think having children.

Flores and her co-authors Hope Dillarstone and Laura J Brown present, in PLOS Climate, a systematic review of evidence that reveals a complex relationship between climate change concerns and reproductive decision-making.

Four main climate worries affecting reproductive decisions emerged:

  • Uncertainty about a child’s future
  • Ecological impact of reproduction
  • Ability to meet family’s needs amid climate challenges
  • Contributing to environmental politics shapes decisions

“Stronger climate concerns were associated with less desire or intention to have children in most studies, but a few found the opposite among certain groups,” Flores said. “The relationship is complex and more research is needed, especially in the Global South, to understand diverse cultural and regional nuances.”

Read coverage in The Guardian.

Photo credit: Annie Spratt,