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.

Small family in woods
22 August 2020

Earth Overshoot Day: How smaller families shrink our ecological footprint

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, the day on which humanity has used up all the natural resources that the Earth can produce within a year. This means that from tomorrow, we are effectively in ecological overshoot, leading to resource depletion and destruction of nature. Population Matters Senior Communications Officer Olivia Nater explains how empowering people to choose a small family size helps us live within our planetary boundaries.

Read more

Senegalese woman learning about modern contraceptives
10 August 2020

Investing in contraception would save billions of dollars

A new report estimates that fulfilling the unmet need for modern contraception in developing countries would save $16 billion a year in maternal healthcare by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies.

Read more

12 August 2020

Championing better choices: My work as a young population activist

The theme of this year's International Youth Day is "Youth Engagement for Global Action". Stella Wright, a member of the Population Matters London Local Group, is one of an increasing number of young people around the world concerned about the impact of global population growth. Here, she explains what motivated her to become an environmental activist. 

Read more

1 August 2020

International Childfree Day: Childfree Stories

To mark this year’s International Childfree Day, we have selected some of our favourite testimonials from Population Matters supporters who have made the choice to live their lives without having children.

Read more

Crowd crossing road
20 July 2020

Two billion fewer people?

A new study published in The Lancet projects that the global population will peak at 9.7bn in 2064 and be 8.8bn by the end of the century. That's 2bn below the United Nations projection. Can it be true?

Read more

14 July 2020

World Population Day 2020 – sustainable development needs a sustainable population

Saturday 11 July marked World Population Day and for us it was the culmination of a series of digital events that we hope will encourage and inspire people to talk about population issues. This year our theme and activities centred around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read more

Veiled woman
7 July 2020

Violated rights: the governments controlling women’s bodies

China and Iran have made the headlines in the last few days for two very contrasting examples of a return to the dark ages of controlling women’s wombs. Population Matters Communications Officer Olivia Nater investigates.

Read more

Hitting the Targets - Population and the SDGs

Briefings and submissions
Download
3 July 2020

Number of women and girls subjected to harmful practices still growing

The latest UNFPA State of the World Population report shows that every year, millions of women and girls across the world are still subjected to violent and harmful practices. Due to population growth and stagnating progress towards gender equality, the number of victims is still on the rise.

Read more

School children
25 June 2020

Can relationships & sex education help save the planet?

On the UK's Relationships and Sex Education Day, Population Matters Campaigner Katrina Dixon lays out why quality sex education is key to protecting lives and the environment. 

Read more