Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Family planning programs have success in developing countries, but need to be expanded

21.02.2011
While many researchers generally credit the desire for smaller families for the decline in fertility rates in developing, low-income countries, new research suggests that prevention of unwanted births may actually be a larger factor.

The advent of safe and more effective birth control means that people have better control of when and if they have children, said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.

"While it is true that people now want smaller families, my research suggests a more important factor in the decline in birth rates over the past half-century is that people are now more successful than in the past in having the number of children they want," said Casterline, who is also a professor of sociology.

This fact has important implications on the effort by policymakers to limit global population growth in the coming decades, he said.

Casterline gave an invited talk on the contribution of family planning programs to stabilizing world population on Feb. 20 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

His talk was part of the symposium "Estimating Earth's Human Carrying Capacity."

Recent projections suggest the human population will peak at more than 9 billion people by 2050.

"The large increases in population that are predicted will only exacerbate other problems, such as resource depletion," Casterline said.

"We want to minimize the growth that occurs, and there is no viable way to do that except through more effective family planning."

Casterline said that the good news is that his research shows how the success of contraception has played a large role in the fertility decline in low-income countries, even more than the more widespread desire for smaller families.

In his analysis of fertility decline in 50 low-income countries from 1975 to 2008, Casterline estimates that about 44 percent of that decline is the result of prevention of unwanted births. About 13 percent was due to people wanting smaller families. The remainder was other factors, such as women marrying later and thus having fewer children.

"We are a lot more successful in family planning than we have ever been. It is one part of the whole medical and health revolution."

But the problem has been expanding that success, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the needs for family planning are greatest and where future population growth is expected to be the largest.

Studies have shown that about one in four women (who are currently married or in a union) in Africa have an unmet need for family planning. That means that they report in surveys that they don't want any children in the near future, but are not using contraception.

In Asia and Latin America, 17 to 18 percent of women have unmet needs for family planning.

Just meeting this need could have a major effect on population growth. One study suggests that meeting the need for family planning could reduce the growth in population in developing countries by about 250 million people by 2050, Casterline said. There were slightly more than 4 billion people in developing countries in 2010, and one United Nations estimate puts the population in these countries at about 6.25 billion people in 2050. However, by meeting unmet demand for family planning, one estimate says that population will be held to about 6 billion people.

But especially in sub-Saharan Africa, there is also a need to generate more demand for birth control, he said.

Generally, women who don't want to use contraception have health concerns (such as fear of side effects), ethical or religious concerns, or are discouraged by others, especially male partners.

Casterline said effective family planning programs can address some of these obstacles, particularly health concerns.

"We commonly find in developing countries a belief that most modern contraceptives pose more health risk than either pregnancy or induced abortion, which of course is not true," he said. "We need to address those concerns."

The other major obstacle to wider use of contraceptives is simply getting supplies and services to women in places like sub-Saharan Africa.

"These obstacles to contraceptive use cannot be overcome without significant financial investment, and in the short run this will require international assistance," he said.

"It is distressing that international assistance for family planning has, if anything, declined during the past decade."

Research has clearly shown that international family planning programs are effective. Studies suggest that such programs can reduce the number of births women have by 0.5 to 1.5 over a lifetime.

"We know there are women in many parts of the world who would prefer to have fewer children. We need to do a better job in providing them the effective family planning services they want," Casterline said.

Contact: John Casterline, (614) 247-2519; Casterline.10@sociology.osu.edu
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457; Grabmeier.1@osu.edu

John Casterline | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>