Why Population Data Matters: Ensuring Families Around the World Have Access to Family Planning

While you are out celebrating the close of the World Cup this Sunday, don’t forget to take a minute to remember that Sunday, 11 July, is World Population Day. World Population Day is annually observed on July 11 to reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It encourages activities, events and information to help make this right a reality throughout the world.  This year’s theme, “Everyone Counts” is meant to highlight the critical role data plays in tracking population trends.

World Population Day was instituted in 1989 as an outgrowth of the Day of Five Billion, marked on July 11, 1987.  USAID plays a leading role in sponsoring the collection, analysis, and dissemination of quality data, which play a critical role in advancing voluntary family planning in the developing world. Quality data help track progress, identify best practices, measure success, and take corrective actions when necessary. For these reasons, data is essential for making the case that providing women in developing countries with contraceptives must be part of a comprehensive approach to development.  This data also enables family planning policymakers, program managers, and service providers to make evidence-based decisions to ensure that women and couples can voluntarily determine the timing and spacing of pregnancies. Availability of reliable nationally representative data has made it relatively easy to engage host country governments and stakeholders, while collaborating to identify population issues and developing appropriate policy responses.