Rise in use of contraception offers hope for containing global population
The number of women using contraceptives in developing countries has soared to record levels in recent years, such that projections for global population growth could be cut by as much as 1 billion over the next 15 years.
The latest figures by the UN show more women than ever now use family planning, with some poorer regions recording the fastest pace of growth since 2000.
In 2015, an estimated 64% of married women, or women living with a partner, aged between 15 and 49, were using modern or traditional forms of family planning. In 1970, the rate was 36%.
The population division of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Undesa) predicts high rates of contraceptive use in Africa over the next 15 years; a region with the largest demand but least access to modern contraceptives.
Undesa’s projections for global population range between 8 billion and 9 billion by 2030.
“The UN projections of population growth already give us an idea of the impact that increased access to family planning could have. If by 2030 the average family size is just one child fewer, then by 2030 the world population is estimated to be approximately 8 billion rather than 9 billion,” said Jagdish Upadhyay, head of reproductive health commodity security and family planning at the UN population fund (UNFPA).
“Evidence shows that women who have access to family planning choose to use family planning, often resulting in smaller families, higher educational achievements, healthier children [and] greater economic power as well as influence in their households and communities,” said Upadhyay.
“If all actors can work together to provide women in every country with the means, which is their right, to voluntarily exercise yet another right to freely determine their family size, then we are likely to see a significant slowing of global population growth.”
In Nigeria, one of the countries predicted to see the biggest population growth over the next few decades and with a contraceptive prevalence rate of 16%, an increase of one percentage point in the use of modern contraceptives would mean about 426,000 more women would be using family planning.