The Remarkable Stability of Fertility Desires during the Colombian Armed Conflict 2000–2016
preprintposted on 09.12.2020, 14:48 by Signe Svallfors
Limited attention has been paid so far to the impacts of war on proximate determinants of fertility, including childbearing preferences. This study explores the relationship between exposure to local conflict violence and fertility desires in Colombia. I combined nationally representative micro-level data from the Demographic and Health Surveys on the timing, frequency and decisiveness of reproductive preferences, with geospatial information about local violence from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program from 2000 to 2016. The results show a remarkable stability in women’s childbearing desires in relation to conflict during the observation period, robust to multiple re-specifications of the study sample, statistical model and conflict measurements. The study indicates that previously reported increases to fertility behavior cannot be explained by altered preferences, suggesting a surge in unwanted pregnancies. This highlights the need for policy programs to support women in realizing their fertility preferences, whatever they may be.