The Effect of Climate Change on Fertility in West Africa

Isabel McLoughlin , University of Texas at Austin
Alexander Weinreb, University of Texas at Austin

This study combines 22 rounds of Demographic and Health Survey data for 11 countries in West Africa with remotely sensed rainfall and temperature data georeferenced to the interview location. This combination allows for testing how fertility is influenced by climate change for the immediate surrounding area in the years leading up to a recent birth or pregnancy at time of interview. We test a number of measures of rainfall and temperature to determine which measures matter more for influencing fertility and how the effects vary for different environmental and household characteristics. We find that in times of increasing mean rainfall there is a positive effect on fertility but when variation is increasing there is a negative effect on fertility. We also find that dependence on agriculture and percent of land in cultivation increases the odds of a birth or pregnancy, though this effect varies significantly by parity.

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 Presented in Session 3. Population, Development, & the Environment; Data & Methods; Applied Demography