All levity aside, there are some researchers who believe that large-scale disasters can influence birthrates. Psychologists say it comes down to attachment theory: that catastrophes, in short, have a way of driving people together and influencing major life decisions.

In a study published in The Journal of Family Psychology in 2002, researchers examined data on marriage, birth and divorce rates across South Carolina from 1975 to 1997. They found, as predicted, that in 1990, the year after Hurricane Hugo struck, marriages and births spiked in the 24 counties declared disaster areas. But so, too, did divorce rates, a finding the researchers hadn’t expected. …

But some studies have found evidence of a reverse phenomenon. …

Disasters, the author argued, perhaps make people less willing to make the long-term investments required to raise a family, and disruptions in family life and loss of homes and jobs may also contribute to declines in birthrates.