The Role of Family Planning in the Millennium Development Goals

July 21, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Bob Walker for this report from the UN Population Commission. Pasted below is one paragraph that looks at the role family planning has played in helping to avert what could have been a much worse population situation in the world today.


Today the global population growth rate is estimated to be even lower, at 1.17 per cent annually, and its continued decline is largely taken for granted. Yet, consideration of the population explosion that did not occur is instructive to underscore that there is still no time for complacency (see table 1). If fertility had remained constant in Asia at the level it had around 1970, its population in 2005 would have been 6.1 billion, close to the current population of the whole world. Because of the rapid reductions in fertility achieved by most countries in Asia, especially the most populous, the population of Asia in 2005 was instead 3.9 billion, 54 per cent lower than it would have been without a fertility decline. For Latin America and the Caribbean, the numbers are more moderate. Yet, without the rapid reduction in fertility it achieved, this major area would have had in 2005 a population 38 per cent larger than the one it actually achieved (769 million versus 558 million). The crucial finding is that, in the case of Africa, the difference in population between having had no reduction in fertility since 1970 (832 million) and that actually achieved (769 million) is very small, amounting to just 8 per cent of the current population. For the least developed countries, the difference is larger but also small, amounting to just 15 per cent of the 2005 population. These results imply that the population explosion was averted globally because fertility declined rapidly in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, but the explosion has largely played itself out in Africa and in most of the least developed countries. As the present report documents, rapid population growth is associated with a number of detrimental social and economic outcomes.

Current World Population


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