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The State of World Population 2018 report in both English and Chinese language editions launches in Beijing

18 十月 2018

UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND, Beijing, 18 October 2018--The global trend towards smaller families is a reflection of people making reproductive choices to have as few or as many children as they want, when they want. When people lack choice, it can have a long-term impact on fertility rates, often making them higher or lower than what most people desire, according to The State of World Population 2018, launched today in Beijing by the United Nations Population Fund and the National Health Commission of China, in both English and Chinese language editions. 

Family size is closely linked with reproductive rights, which, in turn, are tied to many other rights, including the right to adequate health, education, and jobs. Where people can exercise their rights, they tend to thrive. Where these rights are stifled, people often fail to achieve their full potential, impeding economic and social progress, according to the new report, entitled, “The Power of Choice: Reproductive Rights and the Demographic Transition.”

“Choice can change the world,” the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in China Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi said in the opening remarks. “Choice can be a reality everywhere, provided countries take action to empower women to have the number of children they really want. The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of pregnancies will bolster economic and social progress around the world for decades to come.”

When a woman has the power and means to prevent or delay a pregnancy, for example, she has more control over her health and can enter or stay in the paid labour force and realize her full economic potential.

The report found that no country can claim that all of its citizens enjoy reproductive rights at all times. Most couples cannot have the number of children they want because they either lack economic and social support to achieve their preferred family size, or the means to control their fertility. The unmet need for modern contraception prevents hundreds of millions of women from choosing smaller families.

“China has made remarkable efforts to improve its family planning work, especially in reforming its administrative approach towards a client-oriented approach in family planning,” said Mr. Wang Pei’an, Vice Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference national committee on population, resources and environment, Standing Vice President of China Family Planning Association, and former Vice Minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission of China.

Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, reproductive health and rights have substantially improved around the world. People have more information about their reproductive rights and choices, and a greater capacity to claim their rights. “The historic transition to lower fertility,” says the report, “has emerged through people claiming their right to make choices about their reproductive lives, and to have as few, or as many, children as they want, when they want.”

The report classifies all countries in the world by the current dynamics of their populations’ fertility. It makes specific recommendations for policies and programmes that would help each country increase reproductive choices.

To make freedom of choice a reality, says the report, countries can prioritize universal access to quality reproductive health care, including modern contraceptives; ensure better education, including age-appropriate sexuality education; advocate for a change in men’s attitudes to be supportive of the rights and aspirations of women and girls; and make it easier for couples to have more children, if they want them, by enabling greater work-life balance through measures such as affordable child care. 
 

You can access the report at: https://china.unfpa.org/en/publications/state-world-population-2018-3