Brazil a model for slowing population growth – experts

June 21, 2012 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Brazil, News

The following article reports on the success Brazil has had in achieving below replacement level fertility. See:

Brazil a model for slowing population growth – experts

By Laurie Goering

RIO DE JANEIRO (AlertNet) – Rosimere Lopes knows what she does not want in life.

The 23-year-old, who lives in Cachoeirinha, a hillside slum in Rio’s gritty North Zone, was born when her mother was just 16, and grew up taking care of her five younger brothers and sisters while her mother worked.

As a result of missing so much education, she’s still trying to finish high school. But she has accomplished one important thing – she has no children of her own yet, despite having a regular boyfriend.

“My mother got pregnant at 16 so I know the consequences. I don’t want that,” she said. “I want to do better.”

In the last decade, Brazil has undergone a family planning revolution. In 2000, the country’s birthrate was 2.4 children per woman, already dramatically down from decades past. Today it has dropped to 1.9 children, below replacement level and on a par with many developed countries.

That slowdown, built on making available better information and contraceptives, and on growing urbanisation, is increasingly looked at as a model by experts around the world trying to find ways to dampen population growth and consumption – both linked to accelerating climate change and resource scarcity.

“For a long time, the environmental movement has not been thinking about population, even though people always start by noting the world’s population will rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050,” said Peggy Clark, executive vice president for policy at the U.S.-based Aspen Institute, which works on population and health issues.

“But that doesn’t have to happen,” she said. If population growth – an issue she called “the elephant in the room” – could be moderated, many of the other problems being tackled by negotiators at this week’s Rio+20 sustainable development summit could also be alleviated, she said.

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