Zero population growth can be achieved -- but only if family planning services are made widely available and social incentives are offered to parents.
- Step 1: Encourage breast feeding. This will increase the time between pregnancies.
- Step 2: Encourage women to delay child bearing into their 30s rather than in their teens and 20s. In China, social incentives to encourage family planning have included lower taxes, better schooling, and better housing.
- FACT: According to the CIA World Factbook, as of July 2010 the world population was 6,768,181,146.
- TIP: The fertility rate in China has declined from 5.7 to 1.9 since 1972.
- Step 3: Provide easy access to family planning services and good information. In China, free contraception, abortions, and sterilizations have been offered at no cost to women.
- TIP: Access to the birth control pill and movement of women into the workforce contributed to this reduction.
- Step 4: Encourage couples to only replace themselves. In underdeveloped countries this means about 2.5 children per couple; in developed countries the number is about 2.1 children.
- TIP: The number is greater than 2 to take into account infant mortality.
- Step 5: Recognize that population growth can be reduced. In 1950, the average number of children born to women during their reproductive years -- known as the fertility rate -- was 6.5 children. By 1995, it was 3.1 children.