Population Change and Challenge

Like everything else in our world, change in population is swifter than ever. The most profound changes in population, however, are not demographic but social, and they go deep into personal and family life. Women are tasting new freedoms—new expressions of their fundamental human rights—and these have profound implications for both men and the social structures they traditionally dominate.

Demographic change has certainly been swift. In 1970, world population was less than 4 billion: today, it is over 6 billion and will stand at 8 billion by 2025, with nearly all of that growth concentrated in what are still called “developing countries”-- most of Asia and nearly all of Latin America and Africa.

Hidden within those astounding numbers, however, are some more hopeful figures. Over the last 30 years, family size in developing countries has fallen by half, from 6 children to 3; there are many more women today, but compared with their mothers--or any previous generation--they have fewer children. On a scale unknown to history, women are making choices for themselves, and their choice is for smaller families.

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