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Getting Family Planning Back on Track

June 3, 2014 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Daily Email Recap

Getting Family Planning Back on Track


For policy makers and for practitioners, the reward and satisfaction of family planning is that it is an inextricable mixture of helping individuals achieve their reproductive goals while also maintaining an awareness of the multiple ways in which demography has determined our past and will inevitably shape our future. Voluntary family planning programs since the 1960s have helped 48% of the world’s population achieve replacement-level fertility or below.1 (Replacement-level fertility is the fertility rate at which each generation has only enough children to replace itself, and thus the population eventually stops growing. This is generally when the total fertility rate [TFR] is about 2.1 children per woman, although it can be at higher levels in countries with high mortality rates.2)

Without this reduction in family size, the number of people living on less than US$1.00 a day would not have been halved,3 improvements in education would have been slower (such as was shown in Thailand4), and there would not have been such a rapid decline in infant and maternal mortality. In many Asian countries, the rapid change in population structure from the introduction of voluntary family planning led to a “demographic dividend,” which helped lift millions of people out of poverty.5 The demographic dividend is the rapid economic growth that may result when a country transitions from high to low birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population-the smaller young dependent population with a larger working-age population translates into fewer people to support.6

Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit