Population and Family Planning Programmes: Human Needs and Human Numbers


Given a couple(woman)‐centred perspective, world population stabilization is possible without coercion. Meeting human needs is an endeavour that must include providing the means for women to control their fertility and realise the potential to bring human numbers down: so permitting sustainable development on a planet with finite resources.

Keywords: population; demographic momentum; fertility; family planning; contraception; abortion

Figure 1.

World population size (line) and annual increments (bars), 8000 bc to 2050 ad.

Figure 2.

Women who want no more children or wish to wait for two years, selected countries (Demographic and Health Surveys).

Figure 3.

Past and projected birth rate in selected developing country regions.

Figure 4.

Time taken for Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to fall from 6 to 3.5.


Further Reading

British Medical Journal (1999) Overpopulation, Overconsumption [Special Issue] 319: 931–934; 977–1001

Campbell M (1998) Schools of thought: an analysis of interest groups influential in international population policy. Population and the Environment 19: 487–512

Cleland J (1994) Different pathways to demographic transition. In: Graham‐Smith F (Ed.) Population – The Complex Reality. London: The Royal Society, 1994: pp. 229–247.

Guillebaud J (1995) After Cairo. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 102: 436–438.

Guillebaud J (1996) After Cairo (Correspondence). Ibid 103: 91–93.

Hinrichsen D and Robey B (2000) Population and the Environment: The Global Challenge. Population Reports, Series M, No. 15. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Population Information Program.

Kulczycki A, Potts M and Rosenfield A (1996) Abortion and fertility regulation. The Lancet 347: 1663–1668.

McMichael AJ, Guillebaud J and King M (1999) Contrasting views on human population growth. One wisdom justifies complacency: the other demands action now. British Medical Journal 319: 931–932.

Potts M (1997) Sex and the birth rate: human biology, demographic change, and access to fertility regulation methods. Population and Development Review 23: 1–39.

Potts M and Walsh J (1999) Making Cairo work. The Lancet 353: 315–318.

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Potts, Malcolm, and Guillebaud, John(Mar 2002) Population and Family Planning Programmes: Human Needs and Human Numbers. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002143]