Social and Ecological Drivers of Birth Seasonality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Audrey Dorelien, Princeton University

Seasonal fluctuations in births are ubiquitous in human populations, however the causes are not well understood. In this paper, we test to what extent four groups of hypotheses–social factors, climatological factors, energetic/labor force factors, and diseases are determinants of birth seasonality in sub-Saharan Africa. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive and may exert their influence on birth seasonality concurrently. First, we present the background and mechanisms behind each set of potential drivers of birth seasonality. Next using a novel methodology and data from the Demographic and Health Surveys that are spatially joined with observations from ERA-Interim, a re-analysis of historical data from weather stations using state of the art models, we are able to test the relative contribution of both social and ecological factors as drivers of birth seasonality in a single model. We also use data from African Demographic Surveillance Sites and local weather stations.

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Presented in Poster Session 2