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Does conflict impact demographic transition? A comparison of two forerunners of fertility decline, Lebanon and Tunisia

Hala G. Naufal Rizkallah, Lebanese University
Hassan H.M. Zaky, American University in Cairo

This paper presents an assessment of the impact of conflicts on a population’s demographic transition through a comparative study of two forerunners of fertility decline in the Arab world: a country in a context of war -Lebanon- that experienced an enduring civil war during 1975-1991, and another in a context of peace, Tunisia. Based mainly on civil registration and data of sample surveys conducted in Lebanon and Tunisia during the period of 1978-2004, the study examines the evolution of two main determinants of fertility decline in Lebanon: women’s education and women’s involvement in the labor force, and explores the political commitment and the changing family status in Tunisia. The results reveal that the war did not have a net impact on the demographic transition in Lebanon. In Tunisia, the political commitment followed by the establishment of the personal status that regulated marriage and divorce and legitimated abortion were influential in its demographic transition.

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Presented in Session 70: Demography and conflicts in the Arab world