The World at 7 Billion: Population and child survival

Ending preventable deaths amongst children and mothers is one of the most effective ways of managing population growth. Find out what we're calling for.

November 2011

The global population is set to reach 7 billion for the first time. At the same time, the prospects for that baby of growing up healthy and educated are better than at any point in history.

It's often assumed that saving children’s lives will simply add to the burden of hunger and poverty, but global trends show the opposite is true. While increasing global hunger is a serious cause for concern, the Malthusian scenario of a rising global population and worsening social conditions has not materialised. 

Gains in children's health and education have been accompanied by marked reductions in fertility rates amongst women in almost every developing country, which in time will stabilise the global population. Where women are empowered and able to control the timing and spacing of births, children are more likely to survive and thrive. 

Ending preventable deaths amongst children and mothers is one of the most urgent development challenges the world faces. Meeting this challenge is also one of the most effective ways of managing population growth.

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