Asia's Family Planning Programs as Low Fertility Is Attained



The dramatic demographic changes in Asia during the three decades from 1970 to the end of the twentieth century were matched by major changes in government population policies and programs, fertility declines occurred in widely different economic, sociocultural, and political settings. The extent to which they were attributable to family planning programs, established in most countries of the region by 1970, is hotly debated. The 1970s were the heyday of family planning programs, which were created in a climate of urgency because of concerns over the “population explosion.” Issues faced by programs at that time are discussed. Over time, programs generally have moved to a simpler “service” approach. As increasing numbers of countries reach replacement-level fertility, and as policies are formed against the background of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, the role of family planning programs is increasingly debated and questioned. This article examines the responses of Asian countries and the population challenges that remain.