Recent Fertility Decline in Eritrea: Is it a Conflict-Led Transition?

Gebremariam Woldemicael, Stockholm University

During a period of military conflict towards the end of the 1990s, Eritrea experienced a remarkable decline in fertility. An important question is whether the decline is driven primarily by the recent border conflict with Ethiopia or by changes in other factors. Using data from the 1995 and 2002 EDHS, this study provides an in-depth exploration of recent fertility change in Eritrea. The findings illustrate a decline in fertility partly due to cessation of childbearing after families reach their desired family size. There is also evidence that the border conflict has contributed substantially to the decline, particularly for first birth fertility. The implications of these findings for theories about fertility change in times of military conflict is that crises may not be likely to initiate a sustainable overall fertility transition, but can still prompt short-term fertility changes among certain social groups or modify an ongoing decline.

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Presented in Session 126: Progression of Fertility Transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa