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Population Council’s Social and Behavioral Science Research Featured at IUSSP 2017 International Population Conference

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — More than 60 new analyses from the Population Council will elevate the scientific discourse on critical health and development issues this week at the 2017 International Population Conference (IPC) in South Africa, with a particular focus on the risks and realities faced by adolescents. 

Population Council experts will present research from more than 16 countries and four global analyses with important insights for policymakers and programmers on strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of women, men and adolescents. The findings explore the heightened risk of HIV among migrant adolescent girls in Ethiopia, new observations on the causes and consequences of child marriage, and the role of public-sector family planning programs in meeting contraceptive demand.

“The Population Council’s multidisciplinary research and in-country presence helps bridge the gap between academia and the real world, informing specific interventions that can have an impact on peoples’ lives,” said Ann Blanc, vice president of social and behavioral science research at the Population Council. “The Council’s research can advance support for young female migrants in Ethiopia, illuminate the consequences of child marriage, and help hold governments accountable for their commitments to improve access to quality contraceptive services.”

Highlights from the Council’s presentations are below. A full list of Council presentations can be found at

HIV risk among female adolescent migrants in Ethiopia

A Population Council analysis shows that migrant girls in urban areas of Ethiopia are nearly twice as likely to be living with HIV compared to those native to the same areas. This study documents that following migration, many girls enter domestic work, and some then transition into commercial sex work. This new mixed-methodology study explores the links between adolescent girls’ migration, education, domestic labor, commercial sex work, and HIV risk. The study recommends providing additional support and safe-space programs for marginalized girl migrants and domestic workers. (Erulkar)

Child marriage causes and consequences

More than a dozen Council abstracts depict the marital dynamics and challenges facing girls married as children. New evidence finds that child brides in rural Upper Egypt marry at 16.5-years on average, are 8-years younger than her husband, and are likely (estimated 44 percent) to experience violence perpetrated by their husbands or others in the community. (Tawab/Oraby). In India, a new longitudinal analysis suggests that improved health and social outcomes were only observed among young women who were able to delay marriage beyond age 20 or 21 years, questioning the appropriate minimum legal age for marriage. (Acharya)

New measurement tool for national family planning programs

Measuring the contributions of national family planning programs in meeting the demand for modern contraceptives is critical to assessing individuals’ success in achieving their reproductive intentions and holding governments accountable to their commitments. Population Council researchers propose a new indicator – the public-sector family planning impact score (PFPI) – that specifically measures government contributions to family planning. Researchers analyzed data across 26 countries and found that the PFPI is a useful addition to existing indicators used to evaluate progress on reproductive health and family planning. This research appears in the journal International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.  (Bongaarts/Hardee)

In addition to abstract-driven presentations, the Population Council’s Girl Innovation, Research and Learning (GIRL) Center will host a Research Leader Session on the democratization of data and the GIRL Center’s Research Repository, which will house the world’s largest open data repository on adolescents. The GIRL Center is a global hub for research and thought leadership that generates, synthesizes, and translates high-quality evidence on adolescent girls.

The quadrennial IUSSP International Population Conference is the world’s preeminent demography conference and will convene more than 2000 experts from around the globe to discuss the latest developments in demography and sustainable development.

About the Population Council

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.