USAID is a global leader in the effort to provide voluntary family planning services and programs that allow couples to choose how many children to have, and when to have them. When men and women are given the knowledge and the right tools to plan their family, most couples choose to have fewer children. In countries where families have fewer children, women are more likely to be educated, there is a higher paid female population, and women are increasingly involved in activities outside the home because they are not tied to the traditional household role.
USAID currently supports programs in more than 60 developing countries that work to ensure both men and women have access to these life changing services. Our programs focus on educating people about pregnancy, how to plan it, and how to ensure the health of both the child and mother. Increasing access to these services will also reduce the rates of abortion since more pregnancies will be planned.
Since the inception of USAID’s family planning programs in 1965, the use of modern family planning methods in the developing world has nearly quadrupled—from less than 10 percent to more than 39 percent today. In the 39 countries with the largest USAID-supported programs, the average number of children per family has dropped – by choice – from more than 6 to fewer than 4.1.