Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



The population of the developing world is expanding at the unprecedented rate of more than 800 million people per decade, and, despite anticipated reductions in growth during the next century, its size is expected to increase from 4.1 billion in 1990 to 10.2 billion in 2100. Past efforts to curb this growth have focused almost exclusively on the implementation of family planning programs to provide contraceptive information, services, and supplies. While these programs have been partially successful in reducing birth rates, further investments in them will have a limited additional impact on population growth. Other policy options, in particular measures to reduce high demand for births and to limit population momentum, are therefore needed. This working paper reviews past approaches to population policy and assesses alternative options available to governments of developing countries. These topics were discussed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the “Earth Summit”) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and will be a focus at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 in Cairo.