Family planning to pay ‘demographic dividend’


06:34 AM November 17th, 2012

By: Philip C. Tubeza, Yangchen Choden Rinzin, November 17th, 2012 06:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Family planning will result in a “demographic dividend” that could drive the economic growth of developing countries like the Philippines, according to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report.

The State of World Population 2012 report said one-third of the growth of the Asian “tiger” economies was due to a demographic shift in which the number of income-generating adults became higher than those depending on them for support.

“This shift… was a consequence of family planning and brought increased productivity, leading to economic development in the region,” the UNFPA said in a statement.

The report said that greater access to family planning could improve the well-being of women, men, children and increased opportunities to invest in schooling and other forms of human capital. This would result in greater participation in labor markets, increasing productivity and raising incomes, savings, and investment.

“Declines in mortality, followed by declines in fertility, lead to changes in the age-structure of the population and also produces an aggregate ‘demographic dividend’ at the level of countries,” the report said.

While in the early stages of the demographic transition—when the share of the population that is young starts to grow—countries may be required to spend more on schools, health clinics, housing, and other infrastructure, but this eventually pays off in the long-term, according to the report.

“This relocation of resources towards the young, who consume but do not produce, may not be conducive to immediate improvements in economic growth rates,” the report said.

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