Power outages lead to more pregnancies which, in turn, make young mothers’ lives worse

Power outages lead to more pregnancies which, in turn, make young mothers' lives worse

A continuous and persistent blackout in Colombia in the early 1990s led to an increase in unplanned births , according to research by Amar Shanghavi and colleagues.

What’s more, young women who became mothers after the blackout fared worse in later life. But what does electricity have to do with fertility? Apparently, only one thing: without electricity there is less leisure, less things to do, and there is more time to have sex .

Less sex and fewer children

Taking into account factors such as electricity and others is important when implementing similar planning policies, because they reveal the extent to which everyday factors affect the frequency with which sex is practiced and in what way it is done.

Furthermore, if a woman is in a critical stage of life, say in her adolescence or early adulthood, having an unplanned delivery could damage her educational level, professional development and even romantic relationships, which is precisely what happened in the cited study .

According to the study, which analyzed the short and long-term effects of a quasi-exogenous variation in fertility behavior due to a one-year period of energy rationing in Colombia in 1992, the power outage was decisive in future happiness of those teenage mothers. Specifically, according to the study authors:


We estimate that women who had a child in 1993 due to the blackout had, on average, 0.07 more children in 2005. This estimate implies that in 2005, there were approximately 14,100 more children as a result of the blackout. Therefore, the fertility shock had not yet been offset 12 years later. In addition, we found that, for women who had already given birth at least once before the blackout, the blackout reduced the time between births from 1 to 2 months.

After all, one of the main factors that reduce the number of children in a developing country is the arrival of clean water (less probability of death due to illness in children, less need to have many children), This, together with electricity and everything that is obtained with it (such as leisure or sexual relief through other means) allows us to better understand why rich countries have fewer and fewer children and fewer sexual relations. You can know more about all this in the following video: