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Is a population policy really necessary?

Population and Societies

489, May 2012

The questions of world population and the shaping of demographic trends will be on the agenda of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 (Rio+20). Jacques Vallin contributes to the debate by analysing whether a population policy is really necessary today.

Implementing a population policy implies that an optimal population size can be defined, based on the quantity of available resources and on the level of progress in production technologies. But these economic questions cannot be dissociated from the population age structure, trends in life expectancy and improvements in health. The efficacy of programmes to control births or to encourage fertility has been limited, and the same is true of policies to control migration flows. 

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