Press Release - The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children can bolster economic and social development

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 17 October 2018--The global trend towards smaller families is a reflection of people making reproductive choices to have as few or as many children as they want, when they want. When people lack choice, it can have a long-term impact on fertility rates, often making them higher or lower than what most people desire, according to The State of World Population 2018, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

Family size is closely linked with reproductive rights, which, in turn, are tied to many other rights, including the right to adequate health, education, and jobs. Where people can exercise their rights, they tend to thrive. Where these rights are stifled, people often fail to achieve their full potential, impeding economic and social progress, according to the new report, entitled, “The Power of Choice: Reproductive Rights and the Demographic Transition.”

“Choice can change the world,” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem writes in the report’s foreword. “It can rapidly improve the well- being of women and girls, transform families, and accelerate global development.”

When a woman has the power and means to prevent or delay a pregnancy, for example, she has more control over her health and can enter or stay in the paid labour force and realize her full economic potential.

The report found that no country can claim that all of its citizens enjoy reproductive rights at all times. Most couples cannot have the number of children they want because they either lack economic and social support to achieve their preferred family size, or the means to control their fertility.
The unmet need for modern contraception prevents hundreds of millions of women from choosing smaller families.

Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, reproductive health and rights have substantially improved around the world. People have more information about their reproductive rights and choices, and a greater capacity to claim their rights. “The historic transition to lower fertility,” says the report, “has emerged through people claiming their right to make choices about their reproductive lives, and to have as few, or as many, children as they want, when they want.”

Read the full UNFPA Press Release here

Every year Rutgers facilitates the launch of UNFPA's State of the World Population in the Netherlands. This year we organised the launch event in cooperation with UNFPA and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Find the report of the launch event 2018 here


For more information, please contact UNFPA in New York:
Omar Gharzeddine: Tel.: +1 212 297 5028; gharzeddine@unfpa.org; or
Richard Kollodge: Tel.: +1 212 297 4992; kollodge@unfpa.org

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