The Impact of the 2014–2015 West African Ebola Outbreak on Fertility in Sierra Leone

Anna Bolgrien , University of Minnesota

The 2014 West African Ebola outbreak was the largest ever in terms of number of cases. The long term demographic consequences of the epidemic are still being studied. The theoretical impact of Ebola on fertility is potentially twofold. First, during the outbreak, people were encouraged to modify their behavior to avoid physical contact with others because Ebola is transmitted most easily through contact with bodily fluids. On the other hand, with the state of emergency declared, people were more limited in their social interactions outside of the home. Using data from a nationally-representative sample of women in Sierra Leone, I estimate the effect of the Ebola outbreak on district level fertility changes using difference-in-difference models and on individual timing of births using event history analysis models. Preliminary results suggest that fertility at the district level increased during the outbreak and the length of the birth interval for individuals decreased.

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 Presented in Session 197. Demography of Epidemics