We examine recent fertility trends in Ethiopia for evidence of short- and long-term responses to famine, political events, and economic decline. We use retrospective data on children ever born from the 1990 National Family and Fertility Survey to estimate trends in annual marital conception probabilities, controlling for women’s demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. The results of our analysis provide evidence of significant short-term declines in conception probabilities during years of famine and major political and economic upheaval. In the longer term, marital fertility in both urban and rural areas declined in the 1980s after increasing moderately in the 1970s.

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