Population and family planning

Modern contraception has played a key role in decreasing global fertility rates (the total number of children per woman). Having the freedom to choose if, when and how many children to have has enabled women in high-income countries to pursue education and career opportunities that were previously inaccessible.

Unfortunately, the majority of women still have insufficient control over their fertility and their lives. More than 230 million women in developing nations who wish to avoid pregnancy are currently unable to because they are not using modern birth control. Barriers to family planning include lack of access, cost, misinformation, and patriarchal religious and cultural norms.

Read our latest news stories and blog posts about family planning.

Earth at night
14 May 2020

Empowerment or 'kicking down'? The truth about population concern

Population Matters Director Robin Maynard responds to environmental writer George Monbiot's denigration of population campaigners in a recent Guardian piece.

Read more

Population Matters Magazine Spring 2020

Population Matters Magazine

Features Chris Packham's '7.7 Billion and Counting', a summary of ICPD25, Population Decomposing, and an interview with Judy Ling Wong.

Download
Woman fetching water
15 April 2020

Coronavirus and contraception in rural Kenya: SRH should be a priority every day

In this guest blog post, Dandelion Africa Director Wendo Aszed looks at how COVID-19 is affecting women in rural Kenya. 

Read more

Nepalese village
3 April 2020

Millions of women have no say over what happens to their bodies

Almost half of women in 57 low- to middle-income countries have no decision-making power regarding their health, contraceptive use and sex lives, according to a new UN report.

Read more

27 March 2020

Study: preference for small families is 'contagious'

As highly social creatures, much of what we say and do is influenced by the people close to us. A new paper examines this effect on family size and consumption behaviour and concludes that smaller families and sustainable lifestyles could be achieved by facilitating the evolution of social norms.

Read more

11 July 2020

World Population Day 2020 Live Q&A

Join us for a live panel discussion on the link between population and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Read more

Liberian school girl
5 March 2020

UN report: World still largely hostile to girls

Despite some progress over the past 25 years, girls under age 18 around the world continue to face unacceptable discrimination and violence driven by deeply entrenched gender inequality, according to a new report.

Read more

African women carrying baskets
27 February 2020

Family planning services still falling behind population growth

According to a new study, the number of women of reproductive age who wish to avoid pregnancy but who are not using any modern form of birth control is currently around 270 million and may remain this high in 2030 due to rapid population growth and slow progress in improving access.

Read more

Contraceptives
4 February 2020

Which European countries spend the most on global family planning?

A new report shows that Europe spent a total of 845 million Euros on global sexual and reproductive health and family planning in 2018 – an overall increase of 5% compared to 2017. Most countries either increased or maintained their funding levels, yet major shortfalls and political barriers remain.

Read more

Chris Packham
17 January 2020

Chris Packham: we need to talk about population

In a landmark and powerful documentary on the BBC, Population Matters patron Chris Packham looked at the challenges of population growth, and made an impassioned plea for it to become a core part of environmental debate.

Read more