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Going the Distance with Family Planning

Lower population growth, achieved through effective family planning, translates into higher per capita GDP, leading to higher incomes, savings, and investment. If Indonesia is to reap these benefits, it will need to revitalize a family-planning program that was once one of the most effective in the world.

GOTHENBURG – Indonesia, home to 264 million people, is the world’s fourth-most populous country. Its capital, Jakarta, is the second-most populous urban area on Earth. For the sake of its long-term economic and social health, ending population growth should be a priority. As Indonesian President Joko Widodo (widely known as Jokowi) acknowledged in 2016, “Family planning is key for the success of future generations.”

And not just in Indonesia. Lower population growth translates into higher per capita GDP, leading to higher incomes, savings, and investment. By contrast, high population growth can reinforce an intergenerational cycle of poverty, with young people in large families often lacking access to the skills, tools, and opportunities they need to improve their future.

In 1970, Indonesia’s National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) was launched to address the problem. It had two specific goals: to establish a “small, prosperous family” as the norm in Indonesia and to reduce fertility through the promotion of contraceptives.

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