Family Planning: A Key to Prosperity

July 2, 2012 • Family Planning, News

Here is a good piece of writing from the always informative John Bongaarts, Vice-President of Population Council, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. Note the case studies near the end. This article originally appeared in the 2011 annual report of the Population Council.

Family Planning: A Key to Prosperity


Family planning programs are highly cost-effective, have demonstrable poverty-reducing effects, and provide important health and human rights benefits to those who would otherwise have trouble achieving them. Yet globally, funding for such programs has not kept pace with the need. As a result, many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, continue to face rapid population growth that jeopardizes social and economic development.

While family planning may be treated as a political football in the U.S., the good news is that international support is growing. In recent years, donors have demonstrated a renewed interest in family planning, and new research has proven that high-quality voluntary family planning programs advance economies and improve health. International family planning conferences in 2009 in Kampala and 2011 in Dakar drew unexpectedly large turnouts. And major donors like the Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and the UK Department for International Development have voiced new commitments to the issue.

But much more must be done.

Some 215 million women in the developing world do not want to get pregnant but are not using an effective method of contraception, resulting in unintended pregnancies and preventable maternal and infant deaths. The poorest parts of the world – where individuals are already struggling to overcome hunger – will see continued population growth of more than 70 million per year. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 1 billion by 2050. And high unemployment and inequality among rapidly growing young populations are contributing to the spread of political violence and civil strife.

To read the full article, please click here:

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