World Population Day

  • Blog post

    In advance of World Population Day (July 11), Sadie Healy, a Program Officer with the Maternal and Child Health Survival Program (MCSP), writes about the importance of removing barriers to accessing family planning. This article originally appeared on the MCSP website.

  • Blog post

    This post originally appeared on The Pump, a JSI blog promoting and improving health. 

    Written by Kate Plourde, Technical Officer and Joy Cunningham, Technical Advisor both from the USAID-Funded Advancing Partners & Communities Project

    © 2006 Shupiwe Suffolk, Courtesy of Photoshare

    © 2006 Shupiwe Suffolk, Courtesy of Photoshare

    The theme of this year’s World Population Day is Youth Engagement and the Sustainable Development Agenda.  Research demonstrates that investments in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, education, economic opportunity, and gender equality can lead to reductions in poverty. Young people’s sexuality, sexual behavior, and reproductive health are influenced by the expectations, norms, and practices of peers, parents, and other adults in the communities in which they live. Institutions such as faith-based organizations, schools, clubs, and social networks affect young people’s roles and responsibilities in the community, as well as their access to reproductive and sexual health information and services.

  • Blog post

    This post originally appeared on Half the World, the blog of the Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG)

    Written by FHI 360's Kate Plourde, Technical Officer, and Robyn Dayton, Senior Technical Officer. 

    ©2012 Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID.

    ©2012 Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID.

    In honor of this year’s World Population Day, the theme of which is youth engagement and the sustainable development agenda, we are reflecting on youth — our future leaders, parents, entrepreneurs, and citizens.  Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history: there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 on the planet. In many countries, more than half of the population is under age 25, creating opportunities for national economic growth but also underscoring the need for greater investment in their health — with consequences that will affect the world’s social, environmental, and economic well-being for generations.   

  • Blog post

    Today—World Population Day—is an opportunity to recommit to raising awareness of global population issues and challenges in maternal health, including the importance of addressing unmet needs in family planning (FP). An estimated 222 million women across the globe do not currently use any form of contraception, despite a desire to space or limit pregnancy (UNFPA).

    Mother and Newborn in India. Photo courtesy of Jhpiego.

    Mother and newborn in India. Photo courtesy of Jhpiego.

    FP is widely recognized by the global health community as a high impact intervention in saving the lives of women and children by delaying childbirth and reducing unintended pregnancies. At USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), we also believe that focusing on postpartum women—those in the first year after childbirth—could significantly reduce this global unmet need for FP. DHS surveys show that 95% of women do not want another pregnancy immediately, yet over 60% are not using any form of contraception.

  • Blog post

    Family planning protects the health of women and children and can reduce dangerous population pressures, helping us fulfill our Christian calling to protect our families and be good stewards of the earth.

    Family Planning User in Nigeria

    Ramatu Isah, a family planning user, describes her satisfaction during a visit of the NURHI advocacy team, outside her home in Jiwa village, in the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. © 2012 Akintunde Akinleye/NURHI, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Nigeria is growing at a rapid rate and is by far the most populous country in Africa, yet it is only the fourth largest African nation in arable land area. Nigeria’s annual growth rate of 2.8 percent means the population is growing by nearly 3 million people every year. To put this in perspective, in 1911, the population was 16 million. It grew to 114 million by the year 2000 and now is an estimated 174 million. With this current trend, the population will nearly double in 20 years.

    The rapid growth of the Nigerian population has widespread implications for its present and future citizens. On Nigerian campuses, students stand by windows to listen to lectures, and a typical room where only two students lodged in the 1970s now houses up to 10 students. Major cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt are experiencing an explosion in population,; housing is overstretched, and a growing number of Nigerians are homeless.

    Although much effort is being made to increase employment opportunities in Nigeria, the rate of population growth is outpacing these attempts, and the result is a considerable waste of the talents of young people. Rapid population growth makes the already challenging task of economic development even more difficult. 

  • Blog post

    This year on July 11, World Population Day, organizations around the globe came together virtually to discuss the importance of family planning advocacy. Continuing a similar discussion that was hosted in November 2012 by the Measurement, Learning and Evaluation (MLE) Project for the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project used the hashtag #FPAdvocacy to highlight its new resource the Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit and the importance of family planning globally. 

    USAID Global Health Bureau engaging with K4Health and others in the #FPAdvocacy Tweetchat

    USAID Global Health Bureau engaging with K4Health and others in the #FPAdvocacy Tweetchat.

    More than 152 Twitter users joined the Tweetchat, which yielded 1,400 Tweets in a very short period of time. At the time of the chat, #FPAdvocacy was in the top three trending topics in the United States. Many prominent and influential people and organizations from the world of global health and development shared opinions, statistics, information and resources on family planning and family planning advocacy during the chat. These experts and advocates brought energy and passion to the intriguing conversation about how to move the family planning advocacy agenda forward. 

    The chat itself was a great mechanism for advocacy and an effective vehicle for promoting tools and resources for family planning advocacy. The forum allowed many people to have a voice in the conversation--not just large NGOs, but individuals worldwide who are passionate about family planning. In light of the first anniversary of the London Summit on Family Planning and the large commitment made by donor agencies, developing and developed countries to reduce the unmet need for family planning worldwide by 2020, the chat harnessed the growing energy and excitement about family planning in the global health community.

  • Blog post

    One billion of the world’s population is comprised of youths—those aged 15 to 24—of which half are young women. In all, 85% live in developing countries, with the largest proportion in Asia. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, youth account for more than 15% of the population. In the younger subset specifically, there are 260 million girls aged 15 to 19 living in these areas.[1] As we mark World Population Day this July 11th, let us remember their unique needs for reproductive and sexual health education and services.

    Pregnancy Desires and Contraceptive Use

    Pregnancy Desires and Contraceptive Use

    Source: Guttmacher Institute, April 2010

    Unless motivated and equipped to avoid a pregnancy, young women are biologically at an age of peak fertility. Each year, 16 million adolescent girls aged 15-19 give birth, accounting for 16% of all births in Sub-Saharan Africa, 12% of those in South Central and Southeast Asia, and 18% of those in Latin America and the Caribbean.[2]

    Many factors contribute to high fertility among young women, including lack of access to educational and economic opportunities, and adolescent-friendly reproductive health (RH) services (including contraception), as well as early marriage. However, the reverse is also true: globally, female labor force participation decreases 10-15 percentage points among women aged 25-29 with each additional child they have.[3] Therefore, reducing fertility through meeting the pregnancy desires of women and girls makes economic sense.

  • Blog post

    New K4Health Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit Can Help

    Siblings in the remote area of Gairi, Dolakha District, Nepal

    Siblings in the remote area of Gairi, Dolakha District, Nepal.

    © 2011 Sirish B.C., Courtesy of Photoshare

    In 2011, the United Nations predicted that the world’s population would grow to 9.3 billion by 2050. In the newly published Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision, however, the UN has now increased its projection of world population to 9.6 billion by 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100. This means that nearly 4 billion more people will inhabit the earth by the end of the century.

    But what about fertility decline?

    This projected increase comes despite rapidly decreasing fertility rates in many countries. Japan’s birth rate, for example, has fallen to 1.39 children per women, well below the replacement rate. Though Japan is an oft-cited example of fertility decline, journalist David Brooks noted last year that almost half the global population lives in countries with birthrates below the replacement level. Even in the Middle East, where we often hear about the “youth bulge,” birth rates are falling dramatically. On average, Brooks pointed out, a woman in Oman has 5.6 fewer babies today than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Fertility rates in Morocco, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have declined nearly 60 percent, and in Iran, fertility rates have fallen more than 70 percent. The authors of the UN report expect that the population of developed countries will change very little between now and 2050, hovering just below 1.3 billion.

  • Blog post

    As World Population Day looms on July 11, and the planet’s population clock inexorably ticks toward the 8 billion mark, yet another recent report notes:An estimated 222 million women in the developing world are not using a modern method of contraception but would like to prevent pregnancy—resulting in 80 million unintended pregnancies, 30 million unplanned births and 20 million unsafe abortions.”

    An overcrowded bus in India

    An overcrowded bus in India.

    © 2008 Srikrishna Sulgodu Ramachandra, Courtesy of Photoshare

    As a commentator on one of many K4Health blog posts on unmet family planning need pointed out, the 222 million figure is not static. “It is going to soar as the population bulge of adolescents reaches age 18. Forty percent of the total populations in Malawi and Rwanda, for example, are less than 15 years old. We need to focus on reaching adolescents now if we are to reduce unmet need in the future.” There are in fact 45 other countries where 40% or more of the population is aged 15 or under, with Niger heading the list at 52%, according to the Population Reference Bureau’s World Data Sheet.

    The latest report to talk about unmet need was published in May by the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). It says youth and adolescents remain a “huge underserved demographic group in most countries.” Efforts to reach them effectively remain modest, even though they should be a priority for preventive information and services, for their own health and well-being, as well as because they are the world’s future.“

  • Blog post

    As the seven keynote speakers from the London Summit on Family Planning disperse, there is a feeling of hope worldwide. Today, World Population Day, marked a great accomplishment for the women all over the world. An additional $4.6 billion was committed today for family planning, hoping to give 120 million more women and girls access to family planning information, services, and supplies. In the days leading up to the London Summit on Family Planning, Melinda Gates spoke about the goal for the summit to garner support for family planning from not only donor nations, but developing as well. With astonishing support from civil society, private sector, donor nations and developing nations, the goal of $2 billion from developing countries and $2.6 billion from donor nations was achieved - $3 million more than the intended goal.

    London Summit Commitments


    New Financial Commitments by Donors and Private Sector at the London Summit on Family Planning

    Keeping up with the live streaming video, the constant twitter feed (#FPSummit) and simultaneous tweetchat (#FPChat) was challenging. But the one thing that was constant through all the forms of media was the positivity. It was all over the posts to Facebook, Twitter feeds, and throughout the summit. The amazing positivity and enthusiasm that was expressed to improve the lives of women worldwide was moving. Improving the lives of those in developing nations will have a positive effect on all of our economies, health, and well-being.

    The Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, spoke about the need for aid transparency, a sentiment echoed by many of the other speakers. In order to uplift and empower the developing nations, we must let them make the change. Donor nations must help enable environments to support the change and increase in family planning.