War effect on fertility behavior in the Democratic Republic of Congo
preprintposted on 19.03.2021, 17:10 by Elina Elveborg Lindskog
Wartime fertility decline and post-war rebound in fertility have been found in both Western societies after the World Wars as well as in war-affected areas in developing countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seems to deviate from this pattern, maintaining a high total fertility rate despite the Congolese wars of 1996-2003 and lingering conflict in East DRC. This study explores the relationship between war and fertility by linking individual reproductive life courses to the occurrence and intensity of war. Geo-referenced conflict data are liked to women’s exposure to the risk of a first or subsequent birth. The first birth risk increased during the Congolese war and in the period immediately following. Higher-order birth risks plateaued during the war but decreased thereafter. Taken together, the results are consistent with a postponement and eventual onset of a fertility transition in the DRC.