Hot Weather Means less Money

Research reveals that extremely hot weeks are linked to a higher likelihood of food insecurity. This connection is mainly due to reduced household income and health during such periods. The effect is more pronounced in countries with lower incomes and economies heavily reliant on agriculture or precarious employment.

Two billion people worldwide face food insecurity, a problem that climate change is set to exacerbate, especially in regions already grappling with malnutrition. Excessive heat prevents work, leading to income loss and reduced ability to buy food. Such periods strain workers physically, decreasing productivity and work hours, causing economic shocks for households. For instance, female brick workers in India's West Bengal suffer income cuts of up to 50% due to heat stress, which slows their pace and brick-carrying capacity.

Hotter conditions can lead to increased household spending due to various factors: food becoming more perishable in the heat, higher costs for cooling through water or electricity, and out-of-pocket expenses for heat-related health issues.

The link between heat, income, and food insecurity can vary by country. Nations relying heavily on heat-exposed jobs like construction or agriculture might see more pronounced heat-related effects on food insecurity. In 2021, about two-thirds of work hours lost were in agriculture. Additionally, higher-income countries tend to offer better housing, cooling technology access, and more affordable food, potentially shielding people from heat and reducing the impact of income loss on food expenses.