Journal Article

Population policy in transition in the developing world

Population growth remains rapid in the poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, despite substantial AIDS mortality. Voluntary family-planning programs reduce unplanned pregnancies by providing access to and information about contraception and by reducing socioeconomic obstacles to use. With sufficient political will and resources, well-run voluntary programs have been shown to bring about sustained declines in fertility and population growth across much of Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, simply by permitting people to realize their individual reproductive goals. Such programs represent a cost-effective approach to relieving population pressures, stimulating economic development, improving health, and enhancing human freedom.