Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 173–213 | Cite as

Armed Conflict and Fertility in Colombia, 2000–2010

  • Andrés Felipe Castro TorresEmail author
  • B. Piedad Urdinola
Original Article


This paper looks at the association between the Colombian Armed Internal Conflict (AIC) and fertility for women in the first decade of the 21st century when the conflict underwent a strategic change after the escalation of armed action by outlaw groups and frontal response by the Colombian government. We fit a Poisson model that incorporates spatial and temporal information, using individual-level data from the Colombian Demographic and Health Surveys from 2000 to 2010 and novel information, for the Colombian case, on the number of armed actions. In rural areas, we find that the AIC had a significant positive association with fertility and non-significant relationship in urban areas, of any size with robust and consistent estimators. Two possible explanations may clarify these results for a long-term conflict such as that in Colombia: (i) women’s responses to higher mortality levels and (ii) the weakening of local institutions assumed to provide protection and health-related services to women. Other than the improvement of health-related services in areas affected by the conflict, we also suggest data collection on these latter conditions directly from the population involved to facilitate future research on the connection between conflicts and demographic outcomes.


Fertility Colombia Demography of conflict Political violence 



We thank Professors Herbert Smith and Laurent Toulemon for their valuable comments. Financial support provided for Andrés’ doctoral studies by the Fulbright Commission and the population Studies Center of the University of Pennsylvania is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés Felipe Castro Torres
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. Piedad Urdinola
    • 2
  1. 1.Population Studies Center and Department of SociologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversidad Nacional de Colombia-BogotáBogotáColombia

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