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

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>