Los cambios y desafíos poblacionales

Como todo lo demás en nuestro mundo, los cambios poblacionales se están dando mucho más rápido que nunca. Sin embargo, los cambios más intensos no son demográficos, sino sociales, y están llegando a las raíces de la vida personal y familiar. Las mujeres están saboreando nuevas libertades –nuevas expresiones de sus derechos humanos fundamentales—y ello tiene implicaciones profundas tanto para los hombres como para las estructuras sociales que han dominado tradicionalmente.

Ciertamente el cambio demográfico ha sido veloz. En 1970, la población mundial era de menos de 4 mil millones de personas; hoy es de más de 6 mil millones y en 2025 llegará a 8 mil millones, con la mayoría de ese crecimiento concentrado en los que todavía se denominan “países en desarrollo” –la mayor parte de Asia, y casi toda América Latina y Africa.

No obstante, ocultas entre esas cantidades asombrosas se encuentran cifras más esperanzadoras. A lo largo de los últimos 30 años, el tamaño de las familias en los países en desarrollo ha bajado a la mitad, de 6 a 3 hijos; hay muchas más mujeres actualmente, pero, en comparación con sus madres –o con cualquier generación anterior— tienen menos hijos. Las mujeres están tomando sus propias decisiones con una libertad que nunca habían tenido, y están escogiendo tener familias más pequeñas.

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