These are difficult economic times. People know that their bank balances, gas costs, and vanilla frappuccino budgets are affected, but now a researcher at UC Berkeley points out that sex lives are, too. In bad times, libido is lowered, and people have less frequent sex. That didn't surprise me, but another side effect of economic hardship did startle me: During depressions, fewer boys are born than girls.
Economist Ralph Catalano looked at birth records for East Germany from 1946 to 1999. Just after World War II, and again after the 1991 collapse of the East German economy, fewer male children than normal were born. The difference was statistically significant. The reasoning is this: It's well known that male fetuses are at greater risk for miscarriage or premature birth than female fetuses. Economic hardship creates stress, and pregnant women under stress may be more prone to miscarriage and premature birth. So fewer male children survive, creating the imbalance. The same thing happens after an earthquake.
What interests me is the evolutionary implications. When conditions get tough, nature produces more girls, which will be needed to (eventually) raise the population level that may have decreased from earthquake or famine.
I just found out yesterday that my school taxes (New York State has the highest property/school taxes in the nation) went up another $1500 as a result of reassessment plus a tax increase. If I were in the child-bearing stage, I'd be having female triplets.