“Does Family Planning Bring Down Fertility
” in Science
’s special July issue on population
, author Jocelyn Kaiser engages various experts to explore whether family planning programs actually help to reduce high fertility. Social demographer Amy Tsui of Johns Hopkins University argues that surveys indicating “unmet need” in family planning “don’t tell us anything about causation.” On the other hand, Martha Campbell
, a lecturer at the University of California, stressed that in countries such as Niger where the population could soar from 16 million today to 58 million
by 2050, “You can’t expand [schools] fast enough.” Thus, focusing on family planning is indispensable and “the benefits [will] far outweigh the costs.”
In “Population Policy in Transition in the Developing World,” also published in the population issue of Science, authors John Bongaarts and Steven Sinding explain why there has been renewed interest on family planning in developing countries. Since rapid population growth in the poorest countries is hampering development, “economists, once notably skeptical, increasingly acknowledge that fertility decline has beneficial economic effects for nations and families,” they write. Moving forward, Bongaarts and Sinding suggest family planning needs to be at the forefront of population and development discussions. Not only is family planning “cost effective,” they write, but it is responsible for “relieving population pressures, stimulating economic development, improving health, and enhancing human freedom.”
See the full line-up of articles from Science’s population edition here.