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Background paper prepared by the Secretary General for the World Population Conference, Bucharest, Romania, August 19-30, 1974. New York, United Nations, May 24, 1974. 105 p.During 1972-1973, a second inquiry among governments on population growth and development was carried out. Questionnaires were sent out in October 1972; and by the end of 1973, 80 governments had sent in replies. A report based on the replies is presented. World population growth accelerated greatly after 1950. For all the less developed regions, the rate of natural increase is expected to be at its highest level during the 1970s and then very slowly begin to ebb off. In Africa, the upward trend may continue for 2 decades before declining. In most of the countries, it is assumed that the rate of economic growth will be higher in the 1970s than it was in the 1960s. Progress has been achieved in some areas of social development, particularly in education and public health. Of the areas in which population growth was rapid during the past decades, only Asia is almost universally pursuing a policy of reducing the rate of population increase. Low rates of population growth have been achieved in most of Europe, Northern America, and Oceania. Family planning activities are spreading throughout the world. The role of a national demographic service and the need for highly-trained demographers are being recognized in most of the countries. Many of the countries acknowledged the part played by the U.N. agencies in the organization and improvement of the process of collecting demographic data. Proposals for the expansion of the U.N.'s role in organizing exchanges of experience between interested countries in certain areas are made.