People around the world, rich and poor, have all the contraception they want. But they don’t have as many babies as they want.
So says The Economist, based on the results of a new poll from 19 countries. It concluded that the “neglected global scourge” is not birth control access but “the number of would-be parents who have fewer children than they want—or none at all.”
International political demands for “greater access” to contraception have only gotten louder in the wake of the Zika virus. Yet The Economist found that “access to birth control is seldom much of an issue” in the countries polled.
“Few young people will have more children than they want because reliable contraception was not available to them.”
Instead, the poll showed that most people actually want more kids than they will have.
Both wealthy and poor countries have “fertility problems.” Why? In wealthy countries problems are the result of late marriage, and in poor countries infertility is often due to untreated infections.
One of the most touching aspects of the article was its reporting on families who went above their “ideal family size.” Most often, parents worldwide delighted in their extra additions.
Those with fewer children had more of a struggle.
Kudos to The Economist for shining a light on the human need for children and family.