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Fertility amidst the Zika Epidemic in Brazil

12th Jun 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

In late 2015, the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization classified the increase in congenital malformations associated with the Zika Virus (ZIKV) a public health emergency. The risk of ZIKV-related congenital syndrome posed an exogenous threat to reproductive outcomes that could result in declining numbers of live births and potentially fertility.

Using monthly microdata on live births from the Brazilian Information System on Live Births (Sinasc), this paper examines live births and fertility trends amidst the ZIKV epidemic in Brazil. Findings suggest a decline in live births that is stratified across educational and geographic lines, beginning approximately nine months after the call for pregnancy postponement.

While declines in total fertility rates were small, fertility trends estimated by age and maternal education suggest important differences in how Zika might have impacted Brazil’s fertility structure. Further findings confirm the significant declines in live births in mid-2016 even when controlling for characteristics of the municipality, and highlight important nuances in the timing and magnitude of the decline. Combined, findings highlight the importance of understanding how the risk of a health threat directed at fetuses has led to declines in live births and fertility.


About the Presenter

Leticia J. MarteletoPh.D., is the principal investigator of Decode Zika. She is an associate professor of sociology and faculty research associate at The University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center. She is also a research affiliate at UT Austin’s Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and is currently serving as associate chair of the Department of Sociology. Her recent research has appeared in Demography, Demographic Research, Population and Development Review, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Social Forces and Studies in Family Planning.

Website of Decode Zika Project


12th Jun 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Amy Jephthah


UCT School of Economics, 4th Floor Seminar Room
UCT Middle Campus
Cape Town, Western Cape 7700 South Africa
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