Population and Environment

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 448–464 | Cite as

Fertility after natural disaster: Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua

Original Paper


This investigation evaluates the effect of Hurricane Mitch on women’s reproductive outcomes throughout Nicaragua. This research aim is achieved by analyzing a unique Nicaraguan Living Standards Measurement Study panel dataset that tracks women’s fertility immediately before and at two time points after Hurricane Mitch, combined with satellite-derived municipality-level precipitation data for the 10-day storm period. Results show higher odds of post-disaster fertility in municipalities receiving higher precipitation levels in the immediate post-Hurricane Mitch period. However, fertility normalizes between disaster and non-disaster areas 4 to 6 years after the storm. These findings suggest that the disruptive effects of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Mitch can have an initial stimulative effect on fertility but that effect is ephemeral.


Fertility Natural disaster Hurricane Mitch Nicaragua 



I wish to thank Manuel Hernandez for the creation of the Hurricane Mitch rainfall intensity variable and Lauren Gaydosh and Elizabeth Lawrence for their invaluable comments during the drafting of this manuscript. Funding for this research was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development under a Pathway to Independence Award (K99 HD079586), a Population Research Training grant (T32 HD007168), and the Population Research Infrastructure Program (P2C HD050924) awarded to the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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