You don't have to experience a terrorist attack firsthand in order to feel its effects profoundly. It touches every element of life, often with lasting effects. A recently published study indicates it even affects future lives too. The study, led by Dr. Claude Berrebi of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Dr. Jordan Ostwald of the US Air Force, reveals evidence that terrorism even affects the fertility level of a population under threat of terrorism.

The research team gleaned data from 1970 until 2007 that included:

  • 66,000 terroristic incidents
  • 170 nations
  • 5,842 individual country-years under observation

After analyzing the demographic effects of the aftermath of these terroristic incidents, the researchers focused on two elements of a population’s fertility rate:

  • TFR — Total Fertility Rates, or the number of children a woman is expected to bear if she remains alive during her childbearing years.
  • CBR — Crude Birth Rate, or the number of live births that occur each year in a population numbering 1,000 people.

The study revealed a drop in a region’s fertility rate of 0.018% in the first two years after acts of terrorism escalated.  When acts of terrorism escalate to a statistically significant degree (by one standard deviation) in a population of 1 million women, the researchers estimate 18,000 fewer children will be born during the lifetimes of these women.

Women in times of violent unrest face fertility problems due to several factors, according to the study:

  • Psychological stress
  • Poor health
  • Job uncertainty
  • Wealth uncertainty

These factors, in turn, are reflected in fertility rate by influencing:

  • Age at marriage
  • Age at first birth
  • Frequency of sexual intercourse
  • Workplace migrations

Statistical data on global terrorism in 2012 published by the US Department of Homeland Security indicates:

  • 6,771 terrorist attacks
  • 85 countries under attack
  • 11,000 deaths
  • 21,600+ injuries
  • 1,280 people kidnapped or taken hostage

The ten nations facing the greatest number of terrorist attacks in 2012, in descending order, were:

  1. Pakistan (1,404 attacks)
  2. Iraq (1,271)
  3. Afghanistan (1,023)
  4. India (557)
  5. Nigeria (546)
  6. Thailand (222)
  7. Yemen (203)
  8. Somalia (185)
  9. Philippines (141)
  10. Syria (133)

The Homeland Security report indicates private citizens and/or property were the target of 2,073 attacks, followed by police (1,699) and members of government (971). No tourists were identified as targets of terroristic activities in 2012.


  1. Berrebi, Claude, and Jordan Ostwald. “Terrorism and fertility: evidence for a causal influence of terrorism on fertility.” Oxford Economic Papers. Oxford University Press. 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.
  2. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. “Annex of Statistical Information: Country Reports on Terrorism 2012.” Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence. University of Maryland. May 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.