Experts define overpopulation, also called overinhabitation, as the presence of excessive numbers of a species, which are then unable to be sustained by the space and resources available.
The carrying capacity refers to the maximum number of organisms in a given species that an ecosystem can support. In overpopulation, the environment is unable to support the numbers of humans or animals within its space.
Environmental degradation, natural disasters, civil war, and forced resettlement may cause population increases in other locations. Internal displacement of large numbers of people, as well as undocumented migration across borders, may turn a region able to carry its original inhabitants into an overpopulated one.
According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the United Nations (UN), it was not until the 1800s that the earth's population reached one billion people. In 1930, the population reached two billion people. In 1960, the world's population reached three billion. As of October 2009, the global population is estimated to be 6.78 billion. It is projected that by 2013, the world population may reach seven billion people, an increase of 77 million people per year over these four years. This increase in population, when displayed graphically, follows a J-shaped curve.
The doubling time (the amount of time that it takes the human population to double in size) is the shortest in history. It is now 53 years, shorter than the average human life span. At this rate, the world's population may reach 9.3 billion by the year 2050.
By the year 2015, the planet will contain an estimated 23 megacities. Megacities are typically defined as densely populated areas that contain at least 10 million residents. Some definitions state that megacities must contain at least 2,000 people per square kilometer.
Projections of the global population level are determined by the fertility rates of childbearing-age women. Fertility rate is defined as the average number of children a woman will have in her lifetime given current birth rates. Different regions of the world have different fertility rates.
At the same time that the world is seeing more births, the population is also exhibiting a larger portion of aging residents. By 2050, it is projected that, in developed countries, such as the United States, there will be two elderly people for every child. The United Nations predicts that in developed nations, the percentage of elderly may rise from eight percent in 2005to 20% in 2050. As medical care improves and extends life, even developing countries will see their elderly populations increase. Many developing countries do not have policies or funding allocated for the rights and care of the elderly.
Overpopulation is closely linked to poverty, environmental destruction, misuse of natural resources, inadequate medical care, and civil and political conflict. Population levels reaching an unsustainable level may result in high levels of unemployment, malnutrition, illiteracy, violence, and the spread of communicable diseases.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are more than 10 million refugees and 26 million internally displaced persons, or individuals who have been forced to relocate their place of residence within their own country. Eighty percent of these are women and children. Whether forced to relocate within their country or to another nation, these people have limited access to adequate reproductive and family planning care, and so the number of unplanned pregnancies increases during these times. Statistics show that women and their children are the most vulnerable to illness, violence, and pregnancy-related poor outcomes during crisis events.
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), developing nations that have invested in health education and family planning have seen faster economic improvement than those countries that have not.
While the earth's resources are considered to be finite, the potential for human population growth is not. The earth is limited in both its habitable land mass and the resources it can provide. As human numbers expand, so does the need for additional water and other natural resources. Fragile soil is depleted, and residents must move again to find land that will sustain them. Through this process, wildlife and plant species are lost.
As populations grow, deforestation expands due to the spread of agricultural use of land and the need for additional housing. Each year 40 million acres of tropical forest are cut for crops, settlement, and fuel. It is estimated that more than 80% of the world's old-growth forests have been destroyed. In Haiti, massive deforestation has resulted from the need to create additional housing space and the use of felled trees for household heating and cooking charcoal. In some areas of the world, eliminating large tracts of forest has led to the degradation of the quality and quantity of soil needed to maintain food crop production.
Fragmentation of remaining forest tracts further impacts the viability of the area by decreasing wildlife habitat. In some regions this impact has driven some animal and plant species to the brink of extinction. Current extinction rates are estimated to be between 100 and 1,000 times greater than in any other period of the earth's history, except for the age of the dinosaur. One out of every eight plants on earth is threatened with extinction. The Amazon jungle, Haiti, and parts of Africa are examples of the negative impact of man on the environment. The NWF states that human population growth is the largest of the threats to wildlife survival.
General: Almost 1.5 billion people are at reproductive age. Of this number, at least 200 million women desire to plan the spacing and number of children, but they do not have access to effective and modern contraceptive methods. Even in the United States, the CDC estimates that almost half of all pregnancies are unintended.
The United Nations (UN) believes humanitarian crises increase reproductive risks. Data shows that during these times, prenatal, obstetric, and postpartum care may not be available. At a time when family planning programs are needed, effective contraception takes a back seat to more pressing immediate issues, such as providing food, water, and shelter. The result for many women is unwanted and unsafe pregnancies.
Data collection: Many developing countries are just beginning to assemble information on the rate of their population growth. Hampered by lack of census taking (the official counting of the number of people in the country), some countries have been assisted by outside organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The UNFPA promotes the use of population data for policies and programs aimed at reducing poverty and thereby improving the lives and choices of individuals and couples.
According to the UNFPA, information and services on family planning allow individuals and couples to determine the number and spacing between their children. Worldwide, more than 150 million married couples do not have access to family-planning services, yet 60% of couples indicate a wish to limit or space their childbirths.
Liberia, torn by civil war for many years, used information on its age concentrations, geographical relocation movement, fertility rate, and mortality level to set priorities in its efforts to rebuild. In 2008, with the help of the UN, Liberia conducted its first population and housing census in 24 years. Based on this data, Liberia was able to establish and implement governmental policies, such as those in the areas of reproductive health and education.
Education: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) launched a formal reproductive health program in 1998, geared specifically for girls and women in crises. Its goal has been to improve infant health, safeguard women's reproductive health, and prevent unintended pregnancies. The DRH expanded the program to include women of refugee or displaced status and delivers needed family planning, pregnancy, delivery, and sexually transmitted disease education in these areas. Work in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Colombia has addressed barriers to healthcare and assisted in the formulation of reproductive health policies at the governmental level.
In 2002, the CDC conducted its largest study of maternal mortality in Afghanistan. The resulting data indicated that in this region, overall maternal mortality rates were among the highest in the world, and that maternal mortality was the leading cause of death among Afghan women of childbearing age. The CDC, in partnership with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is working to improve cultural and civil attitudes toward the rights of women and their right to access family planning methods, safe deliveries, and prevention of sexually transmitted disease.
Family planning: The UN projects that 90% of the world's future population growth will occur in the poorest developing countries. These countries are currently unprepared to deal with the resulting demands on natural resources, medical facilities, land space, and water and sanitation systems. The UN is currently supporting family planning programs in the Arab states, Europe, Central Asia, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa.
International organizations have been advocating the use of modern methods of contraception, the right of women to plan pregnancies, and the initiation of governmental provisions for adequate and appropriate medical care before, during, and after pregnancy. The UN has stated that family planning programs must aim to for freedom of choice in procreation without coercion. Government programs should assist in ensuring that all pregnancies and all children are wanted.
While governments may agree on the need to manage population growth, not all approaches have been the same. India, with an annual growth rate of 1.74%, has the second largest population in the world. Its birth rate contributes 20% of the total births worldwide. In 1952, the Indian government was one of the first to launch a family planning program. Today, the program supports a broad approach to providing birth control products, educational information, and encouragement to delay marriage and first pregnancies. Contraceptive use, particularly female sterilization (34.2%), is increasing and has been successful in reducing the birth rate of six children per woman in the 1960s to fewer than three children per woman currently. Contraceptives are supplied through the government's health care facilities as well as through the consumer marketplace.
In Russia, the fertility rate has been falling sharply since the dismantling of the Soviet Union. The current fertility rate is 1.4 and is one of the lowest in Europe. In other words, each Russian couple produces an average of 1.4 babies. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 1992, Russia's population had one million more deaths than births. This was attributed to the large number of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) that moved beyond their childbearing years. An additional problem is the high rate of maternal and infant mortality, currently at the same level as that seen in Argentina. Russia's maternal mortality rate of 52 deaths per 100,000 live births is 6-7 times higher than in the United States or Western Europe. The most commonly used forms of contraceptive are the IUD and abortion, with only 6% using oral contraceptives. Surveys by the USAID indicate Russian couples are limited in their access to modern contraceptives due to inconsistent supplies, unreliable quality, and high cost.
By 2020, it is estimated that the Russian population will have half of its population over the age of 40 and more than 14% over age 65. While some of Russia's rural areas have maintained a replacement fertility rate, the northwest region, which includes St. Petersburg, has such a low birth rate that the population, if this low rate is maintained, will be halved with each generation.
The One Child Policy: In China, the government has taken aggressive steps to reduce the nation's fertility rate. According to the Information Office of the State Council of China's White Papers, overpopulation is seen as a source of social and economic restriction. In an attempt to slow population growth, China instituted a One Child Policy under leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979. This policy limits couples to one child. Originally billed as a temporary measure to last five years, the current 2006-2010 five-year plan is reported to be scheduled for renewal. Reports of fines, pressure to abort, and forced sterilization have followed this policy through the years.
Intrauterine devices (IUD), sterilization, and legal abortion are the most common forms of birth control in China today, reaching 83% of childbearing-age women. Despite these measures, China's fertility rate is 1.7 times higher than Germany, but lower than the United States. It is estimated that since the implementation of the One Child Policy, over 300 million births have been averted, thereby helping improve people's standard of living. Still, experts project the population of China to have an annual net increase of over 10 million in the next decade.
Birth control: Throughout the world, various methods are used to prevent or time pregnancies. Birth control methods are products or techniques used to control reproduction, either by blocking or diminishing a woman's ability to conceive. Modern birth control methods are classified by their ability to be reversible or irreversible. Reversible methods allow the woman to become pregnant after ceasing use of the specific contraceptive method. Irreversible methods are considered permanent and may not allow a woman to become pregnant through current medical techniques.
The older methods of pregnancy management, such as the rhythm method, in which the woman does not have intercourse during the time surrounding her ovulation, or withdrawal, in which the man removes the penis before ejaculation, are still commonly used despite their lack of reliability.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), modern contraceptive methods are reliable and can be cost effective for the family. In the past decade, several new methods of hormonal birth control have been made available.
Reversible methods: According to a WHO practitioner guidance report, reversible methods include condoms, sperm-blocking devices, intrauterine devices, hormonal methods, and spermicides. Condoms, both male and female, provide a barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. Condoms are made from latex, polyurethane, or a natural product, such as lambskin. With appropriate use, they are considered 85-98% effective, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Diaphragms, cervical caps, or cervical shields are other barriers that are inserted into the woman's vagina before each sexual encounter and prevent sperm from reaching the egg. They also require the use of a spermicide, a substance that blocks or kills sperm, in order to be effective. When used in combination with a spermicide, they are considered to be 84-94% effective in preventing pregnancy.
A contraceptive sponge is a soft, round device made out of polyurethane foam that is inserted in the vagina. The sponge contains a spermicide, which kills sperm. It is considered effective for up to 24 hours and needs to be left in place for at least six hours after last intercourse. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the Today© Sponge for use in the United States. The Today© Sponge is considered to be 84-91% effective when used correctly.
Spermicide alone, if left in the vagina for at least 6-8 hours after intercourse, is considered 71-82% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is supplied as a foam, gel, cream, suppository, or tablet.
A copper intrauterine device (IUD) is a small implant that is inserted into the uterus by a medical practitioner. It may be kept in the body for as long as 10 years and is considered 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The Mirena© intrauterine system contains the hormone progestin. It can be kept inside the body for as long as five years and is considered 99% effective.
The birth control pill is a hormonal method of contraception. A pill containing a synthetic form of both estrogen and progestin is taken by the woman every day for three weeks, then stopped for one week, and the cycle is then repeated. The pill is considered 92-99% effective. The "mini" pill contains only progestin and is taken every day, at the same time of day each day; a delay of more than three hours could result in pregnancy. The mini pill effectiveness rate is 92-99%.
A new extended-cycle pill has recently been marketed in the United States. This product has twelve weeks of pills containing estrogen and progestin, and one week of pills that do not. With this product, women may only have their menstrual periods 3-4 times a year. It is considered to be 99% effective.
The birth control patch is a small square that is worn on the skin and releases estrogen and progestin into the body. A new patch is worn every week for three weeks. It is 92-99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
The vaginal ring is placed around the cervix, or opening of the womb. The ring contains both progestin and estrogen and is worn for three weeks, with one week's rest. It is 92-99% effective.
The injectable form of hormonal contraception is given by a medical practitioner as a shot every three months. It is 97-99% effective. Practitioners recommend that the injections be used for no more than two years in a row due to possible loss of bone density.
The implant, a form of contraception approved by the FDA in 2006, is a small thin rod that is placed under the skin of the woman's upper arm. Progestin is released into the body slowly over a 3-5 year time frame. It is considered 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Permanent methods: Permanent methods of birth control, also called sterilization, are available for both men and women. These methods are considered permanent, because once done, current medical procedures can not guarantee a return of the ability to produce children.
Female sterilization, also called tubal ligation, is a surgical procedure that cuts the two tubes that connect the woman's ovaries, where eggs are produced, to the uterus, or womb. Once the tubes are severed, eggs can not reach the womb where they could be fertilized by the man's sperm. According to the CDC, there is a 1% chance of pregnancy during the first year after the procedure.
A newer form of permanent birth control, transcervical sterilization, is similar to the tubal ligation; however, instead of severing the tubes, a thin device is surgically placed in the woman's tubes, and over a three-month time frame, causes scar tissue to form and seals the tubes closed.
For the male, sterilization can be performed through a surgical vasectomy procedure. This method severs or clips the tube that carries sperm down to the penis. After this procedure, no sperm can reach the woman, yet a man is still able to sexually perform.
General: Populations can grow by way of increased live births, a decrease in the number of deaths, or by migration of people. Childbearing age for humans is considered to be between the ages of 15 and 45 years. In some countries, such as in some areas of Africa, over 50% of the entire population is in this age range.
As medical care improves, death rates decline. With concurrent high fertility rates and declining mortality rates, global population levels are destined to increase at a significant pace. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the world's population rose at the rate of 1.5% per year from 1950 and peaked at 2% in the 1960s. This increase was due in part to a reduction in deaths following the end of World War II and improved medical care, especially widespread use of antibiotics.
Population data: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the top 10 most densely populated regions as of 2009 are: China (1.3 billion), India (1.1 billion), United States (307 million), Indonesia (240 million), Brazil (198 million), Pakistan (176 million), Bangladesh (156 million), Nigeria (149 million), Russia (140 million), and Japan (127 million).
The fastest-growing nations or areas are: Burkina Faso (3.10% per year), Burundi (3.28%), Congo (Brazzaville) (3.21%), Ethiopia (3.21%), the Gaza Strip (3.35%), Kuwait (3.55%), Madagascar (3.00%), Niger (3.68%), Oman (3.14%), United Arab Emirates (3.69%), and Yemen (3.45%).
The nation with the lowest current population growth rate is the Cook Islands at -3.30% per year.
Population growth: The rate of population growth varies widely among nations and regions. In developed countries, such as Western Europe, the population rate has continued to decline since the early 1960s. This is due to people marrying at an older age and electing to use effective modern birth control methods. In other parts of the world, however, the rate is accelerating as a large part of their population reaches childbearing age, and contraceptive products are not available or not used. The end result is an expansion of the total global population.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population growth rate is projected to be one percent by 2015, and 0.9% by 2025. The number of births per year was four million in 2008 and is projected to rise to five million per year by 2025. Life expectancy by the year 2050 will reach an average of 80 years. The number of deaths per year is currently two million and will increase to three million by 2050. An increase in the population by way of migrants into the United States (documented and undocumented) is currently one million per year and is projected to reach two million persons per year by 2050.
Population surveys: As the number of people grows, the need for accurate census data collection is increasing. Without adequate information, governments and international help agencies have limited knowledge of the true scope of an area's population problem.
In the Sudan, under what the United Nations (UN) termed challenging conditions, a field enumeration study was conducted. A field enumeration study is the collection of information directly from the household, instead of estimating numbers from sample households in a region. The UN advocates the use of in-person interviews in order to obtain accurate population counts.
In 2002, Albania conducted its first national reproductive health survey with the help of the UN. Through in-person interviews with 5,697 women aged 15-44 years, and 1,740 men of ages 15-49 years, the census revealed a total fertility rate of 2.6 children per woman, the highest in Europe. Currently, about 75% of married couples use the withdrawal method of contraception. Only 8% of married women and 3% of married men reported the use of modern contraception methods, such as IUDs, birth control pills, or condoms.
In Paraguay, the first contraceptive prevalence survey was taken in 1977. Interviews were held again in 2004 with 7,321 women, aged 15-44 years. Since 1977, contraceptive use has increased 73%, with modern contraceptive methods of condoms, female sterilization, and injectables (a fluid substance that can be introduced into the body by a syringe) being used 61% of the time. Young adults, however, use contraception only 58% of the time.
In Georgia (formerly the Republic of Georgia), a 2005 reproductive health survey was taken of 6,376 women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. Georgian women had the highest fertility levels reported among the 20-24-year age group. Contraceptive use among Georgian women was the lowest among any of the former Soviet countries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 52% of those women who had been pregnant in the past five years indicated that their pregnancy was mistimed or unwanted. Only 47% of the women reported using any birth control method during the month of the survey, and of those who did use contraception, only 50% of them used a modern method, such as IUDs or condoms.
In El Salvador, a survey was taken of 10,689 women and 1,313 men. The data indicated that the total fertility rate had decreased from 3.6% in 1998, to 3.0% in 2002. Women reported that 42% of their births in the past five years were unplanned, and 24% of those pregnancies were unwanted. Female sterilization was the most commonly used contraceptive method (33%), with injectable hormonal products (18%) and oral birth control pills (6%) also used.
In Cape Verde, Africa, the first reproductive health survey was conducted in 1998 and included 92% of the population. Interviews were held with 6,250 women and 2,450 men aged 15-44 years. The study found the fertility rate to be 4.03%, despite the highest level of contraceptive use in Africa. The pill (18%) and female sterilization (13%) were the most commonly used methods of contraception; however, the CDC reports that 61% of young adult females had premarital sex and only 17% of those women used contraception at first intercourse.
In Azerbaijan, a 2001 survey interviewed 7,668 women, which included 1,272 internally displaced women. The rate of use of contraception was 55%, with withdrawal being the most commonly used method. This region also experienced the largest number of induced abortions (3.2 abortions per woman) compared to other countries of the former Soviet Union. Home deliveries were high (26%), and the number of stillbirths was the highest in the region, at 21 per 1,000 births.
When the world's collective fertility rate is considered, data indicates the rate has fallen since the 1960s, from five births per woman to 2.5 births per woman; however, the overall number of childbearing-age women has increased. Despite the improvement in family planning methods, education in spacing pregnancies, and improved economic opportunity, the global population continues to grow at a rate of 1.3% per year.
Population stabilization: Population stabilization, or zero population growth, occurs when the increase of a population group by births is matched by the same decrease of the population by deaths. Particularly since the early 1970s, experts have debated the possibility of the earth reaching zero population growth worldwide. Experts state that the key to a stable population is when a large population group has roughly equal numbers in each of the age groups: live births, reproductive age, and elderly.
Integrating stabilized population growth with sustainable economic growth would ultimately decrease the extent of poverty and environmental devastation. The ultimate outcome would be an improved quality of life worldwide.
According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), although each individual woman is having fewer children, there are so many women in their childbearing years that rapid population growth is continuing. This process is called population momentum. Experts believe that it would take many generations for population levels to lose their momentum and become stabilized.
According to the UN, meeting the basic needs of a growing population is dependent on a healthy environment. As the numbers of humans increase, their need for food and water also increases. Since not all natural resources are equally sustainable, some experts caution that even if a stable world population is reached and maintained, scarcities could still threaten human health and well-being. They theorize that despite a stable population, the vast number of people could result in a decrease in the quality of life.
General: The impact of an unplanned pregnancy may have significant personal and social consequences. Many maternal deaths could be prevented by better understanding of appropriate and modern contraceptive methods.
Maternal death: According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), lack of reproductive health is the leading cause of female death and illness during childbearing age. According to the UNFPA, a woman in a developing country dies every minute from treatable complications of pregnancy or childbirth. In many cases, the death of the mother places all children in that family at risk. International groups have established a goal of a 75% reduction in maternal deaths by 2015. Experts believe that goal will not be attained.
Malnutrition: The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that as environmental quality declines due to the increase in the human population, an increase occurs in human diseases. Malnutrition contributes to the impact of disease on a population. According to a report from Cornell University, as people become malnourished, they also become more susceptible to life-threatening diseases, such as acute respiratory infections and malaria.
In 2007, researchers estimated that about 3.7 billion people (57% of the world population) was malnourished compared to 500,000 (20% of the world population) in 1950. . Malnutrition is directly linked to the death of six million children each year.
Disasters and diseases: Experts have looked at other events to see if they might impact population levels. Statistical data have shown that natural and man-made disasters, such as the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages or the loss of life during World Wars I and II, did not exert a significant impact on global population levels. While there may be a dip in population numbers due to these events, the resulting decrease is temporary.
Epidemiologists from the WHO have cautioned that the increase in global travel, coupled with a highly virulent strain of human-to-human transmitted virus, could potentially cause the deaths of over 100 million people. If history is an indication of the human race's ability to survive and reproduce, however, the decrease in numbers caused by such a disease event could be rapidly replaced.
Urban density: In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the global population lived in urban settings. Urban growth is fueled mostly from internal growth as residents have additional children, but it may also occur as residents move from rural areas into the cities. Relocation can occur due to crop failures, search for employment, political conflict, or land seizure. If the increase in the city's population overwhelms the water and sanitation infrastructure, vast shanty towns, crowded with increasingly poor inhabitants, can occur rapidly. It is estimated that by 2030, almost five billion people will reside in cities throughout the world.
FUTURE RESEARCH OR APPLICATIONS
General: Fertility rates and population growth have not decreased in developing countries. In response, governments around the world are joining together to address the compounding problems surrounding overpopulation. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has been called upon to organize and spearhead changes in the regions desiring help. The UN has stated it will help governments understand population trends and create ways of attaining sustainable quality of life.
Birth control: At the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, several countries, including the United States made commitments to implement universal family planning services in Cairo by 2015. Such actions may help offset the disproportionate lack of services in developing countries.
Work continues on meeting the goals of the International Conference: to expand maternal health services, and to include education on safe motherhood, prenatal care, maternal nutrition, responsible sexual behavior, and voluntary sexual abstinence. These goals would improve a woman's right to determine her own health and her pregnancies, and to safeguard her infant's survival. Much work still remains to be done to meet the challenges of providing affordable access to modern family planning methods, such as condoms, IUDs, and hormonal contraceptive options.
Impact of climate change: As climate change impacts crop growth, potable water access, and habitable land, populations may be forced to migrate into or away from areas that are currently stable.
As a result of the potential additional negative impact of climate change on the environment, particularly in developing countries, the UN presented a report at the 14th Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2008. This report outlines the importance of understanding how overpopulation and climate change are interrelated. Using census data and the knowledge of population movements, a government can develop strategies for addressing these issues.
While advances in technology and maximized agricultural production could prevent some food supply depletion, secondary problems of distribution, access, and governmental management could continue. As an example, today, even with advanced farming methods that increase food production, 20% of the world's population is considered to be malnourished (using 1996 data) due to difficulties in distribution. Current views of ownership of water rights and access to land and other necessary resources would need significant revamping to meet the burden of the world's projected 9.3 billion people in 2050.
International efforts: At the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, promises were made to help governments slow the migration from rural areas to cities, where health services are often overwhelmed by the numbers of people requiring help. Addressing the causes of internal displacement, such as natural degradation, natural disasters, and civil war, would help balance a population under crisis.
Population experts state that funding of development programs must be given international priority. Programs should focus on job creation and training, changing cultural attitudes toward women in the workforce, creating jobs for the increasing numbers of young workers, and protecting food and medical care delivery systems.
The International Conference's report indicated that substantial increases in resources for population and development programs will be needed. In many developing countries burdened with multiple population issues, funding for family planning programs is lacking. The next meeting of the International Conference on Population and Development is scheduled in June 2009. Evaluation of the world's progression toward reaching the 1994 goals will be discussed.
The UN's Population Division, in their 1994 Programme of Action report for the International Conference on Population and Development, states that family planning should be provided to meet the overall reproductive health care needs of women. At that meeting government representatives from 170 countries spent three weeks drafting a proposal to integrate population concerns into governmental policies. Despite a wide range of interpretation of key terminology, such as reproductive health and family planning, they included goals to reduce infant, child, and maternal deaths, and improve access to family planning information and products. Reconvening of the Conference was planned for late June 2009.
This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
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