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POPULI. 1986; 13(1):5-14.Within the next 50 years, the predominantly rural character of developing countries will shift as a result of rapid world urbanization. In 1970 the total urban population of the more developed world regions was almost 30 million more than in the less developed regions; however, by the year 2000 the urban population of developing countries will be close to double that in developed countries. A growing proportion of the urban population will be concentrated in the biggest cities. At the same time, the rural population in developing countries is expected to increase as well, making it difficult to reduce the flow of migrants to urban centers. Although urban fertility in developing countries tends to be lower than rural fertility, it is still at least twice as high as in developed countries. The benefits of urbanization tend to be distributed unevenly on the basis of social class, resulting in a pattern of skewed income and standard of living. Social conditions in squatter settlments and urban slums are a threat to physical and mental health, and the educational system has not been able to keep up with the growth of the school-aged population in urban areas. The problems posed by urbanization should be viewed as challenges to social structures and scientific technologies to adapt with concern for human values. It is suggested than 4 premises about the urbanization process should guide urban planners: 1) urban life is essential to the social nature of the modern world; 2) urban and rural populations should not be conceptualized in terms of diametrically opposed interest groups; 3) national policies will have an impact on urban areas, just as developments in the cities will impact on national development; and 4) the great cities of the world interact with each other, exchanging both trade and populations. The United Nations Family Planning Association stresses the need for 3 fundamental objectives: economic efficiency, social equity, and population balance.
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1986 Aug. x, 102 p.This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the magnitude and underlying causes of Africa's rapid population growth and suggests a framework to help African leaders design policies to address this problem. The report has 3 themes. The 1st theme is that rapid population growth in Africa is slowing economic development and reducing the possibility of raising living standards. Africa's population growth rate, the highest in the world, has accelerated from an average of 2.8%/year in 1970-82 to 3.1%/year in 1985. Population growth is expected to continue to rise for at least another 5-10 years. In addition to undermining economic growth and per capita income growth, the population explosion implies higher child and maternal morbidity and mortality, further degradation of the natural environment, constraints on expanding education and health care services, and falling wages. A comprehensive population policy in African countries must include efforts both to slow this growth and to cope with its consequences. A 2nd theme is one of cautious hope arising from recent indications of a change in ideas and behavior regarding fertility. More and more African governments are expressing alarm about population growth and are supporting family planning measures. Improvements in women's status, especially in female education, are occurring and can be expected to have a fertility reducing effect. Increased availability and accessibility of family planning services could raise Africa's contraceptive prevalence rate from its current level of 3-4% to 25% in the next decade. The 3rd theme is that strategic reorientation of the direction and nature of government involvement in the area of population policy is required. Although governments should not seek to be the only provider of family planning services, they must take the lead in generating a climate of legitimacy for family planning. An increase in external assistance will be necessary if family planning is to become a realistic option for Africans.
European Journal of Population. 1986 May; 2(1):1-4.This article discusses likely population processes in the decades ahead and the role that the United Nations (UN) can play in the field of population. By the year 2000, the demographic situation in the world will be even more complex and diverse. Absolute increases in world population will be significantly larger in the 1985-2000 period than in 1950-85 and serious economic, ecologic, and social problems arising from massive population growth will make development more difficult to plan. Prospects for social and economic development are poor in developing countries as a result of a failure to make broad institutional reforms. Without such development, spontaneous change in birth, death, and migration trends is unlikely. Unemployment and deteriorating standards of living, starvation, ignorance, and moral confusion do not provide a backdrop conducive to sound demographic behavior. Societal intervention at subnational, national, and international levels is needed to reduce diversity and equalize conditions for demographic change. The UN can play a crucial role in this process for 4 reasons: 1) its vision of independent nations, universal human rights, tolerance and peace, and economic and social advancement for all peoples; 2) its emphasis on peaceful coexistence, equal rights of nations, and constructive collaboration; 3) its promotion of a variety of strategies of economic, social, and humanitarian nature; and 4) its grounding in the decisions made by Member States themselves. In the decades ahead, it is crucial that this potential be used to conduct systematic research on the determinants and implications of population change, to refine population policies, to train professional staff, and to promote action aimed at conditioning behavior toward well-defined goals.