Reducing Population Growth through Social and Economic Change in Developing Countries:

A New Direction for U.S. Assistance

ID-78-6: Published: Apr 5, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 1978.

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Over the past 12 years, Congress has made more than $1 billion available for population programs in developing countries. A major part of these funds has been used to finance population programs of the United Nations, private international organizations, and universities.

Although there has been a growing awareness of population problems and some progress in controlling them, birth rates must fall faster in order to achieve stability in world population. In the countries studied, contraceptive use was much lower than that considered necessary for population stability. The Agency for International Development (AID) has focused on providing family planning information and services, but it has not given sufficient emphasis to studies about linkages between fertility and development. AID has revised its population policy to place greater emphasis on social and economic change to influence birth rates. This policy, and congressional provisions requiring that development projects be designed to motivate smaller families, have not yet been implemented. Some constraints have been: lack of an entity dedicated to integrating population and development assistance, the variety of views within AID, and insufficient development of organizational and financial arrangements.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of AID should establish an organizational structure under leadership that will emphasize integrating population and development assistance and developing knowledge needed to carry out such an approach. Development and use of mission-level expertise is essential for this purpose. International, private, and voluntary organizations should be encouraged to consider population and development assistance relationships and the need to plan programs and projects accordingly. In the Sahel development, the Administrator of AID should incorporate considerations of population growth-development interrelationships, support projects associated with reduced fertility, and encourage family planning in the context of maternal and child health programs.

    Agency Affected:


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