Rise in use of contraception offers hope for containing global population

More girls than ever use family planning, says the UN, and having one child fewer could dramatically curtail the global population by 2030

The number of women utilizing 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 girls 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 use modern or traditional forms of family planning. In 1970, the rate was 36%.

The population division of the UNs Department of Economic and Social affair( 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.

Undesas projections for global population scope 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 have been able to. If by 2030 the average family size is just one child fewer, then by 2030 “the worlds 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 households, 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 decide their family size, then we are likely to see a significant slow 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 females would be using family planning.

Upadhyay told many countries, particularly those in west Africa which has a high unmet need for contraception, could potentially reap the demographic dividend: a boost to the economy that occurs when there are growing number of people in the workforce relative to the number of dependants.

However, he cautioned that despite the successes of the past 40 years, huge, and sustained, investment in family planning is needed to keep up with demand and meet the needs of women who are unable to access services.

Julia Bunting, president of the Population Council, told: To impact population projections will require real commitment from countries like Nigeria to invest in high quality, voluntary family planning programmes to expand access to contraceptives.

The timing, scale and pace of those efforts will determine the dimensions of the impact on population projections.

According to Undesa figures, 142 million married women or those living with a partner, who would like to avoid pregnancy and use a modern sort of contraception, are unable to access them. When single girls are included, the number rises to 225 million.

Africa has the highest unmet require, with an estimated 33% of women using contraceptives in 2015. East, central and south Africa are expected to increase coverage over the next 15 years, but over that time its big youth population is likely to be reaching reproductive age.

Sarah Onyango, a senior consultant for service delivery at the International Schemed Parenthood Federation, said continued increases in contraceptive utilize could have an impact on population figures, but the trend necessitates more detailed analysis.

Over the next 15 years, were going to see growth in contraceptive use and demand because an increasing number of women of reproductive age will require contraceptive services, she said.

Right now, the population of Africa is generally young people nearly 50% of the population are youths. If current trends in contraception employ continue, we will probably ensure some shiftings in population.

At an international summit on family planning in London in 2012, donors pledged $2.6 bn ($ 1.8 bn) to improve access to contraceptives for 120 million women and girls by 2020.

Last September, world leaders promised to ensure universal access to family planning by 2030, recurring a pledge they had attained in 1994.

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