What are population policies?
Most 'Western' nations do not have an explicit Population Policy, however many countries encourage their citizens towards particular practises.
The Harvard link below provides excerpts from a variety of Population Policies.
I'll provide overviews of two Population Policies, those of Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Cambodia.
SRI LANKA's Population and Reproductive Health Policy has eight goals, these include:
- lowering fertility rates in order to achieve a stable population by the middle of this century (24 million by 2050)
- otherwise the strain on natural resources and infrastructure will be too large
- achieve this by increasing family planning education, especially in slum and factory areas
- Promote safe adolescent and youth behaviour
- youth account for nearly a third of the Sri Lankan population
- providing sufficient sex and reproductive health education is paramount to Goal 1, but also to thwart the spread of HIV/AIDS and child prostitution.
The other goals in the Policy do not directly speak to population control. They include support for the elderly, gender equality and urbanisation support.
THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA's National Population Policy is strategically tied to the Socio-Economic Development Plan II, the National Poverty Reduction Strategy, and the Cambodia Millennium Development Report. Despite having the highest population growth rate of the ASEAN nations, the report mentions that Cambodia is characterised by high maternal, infant and under-five child, mortality rates. One in five Cambodian women (of reproductive age) died of pregnancy or pregnancy related causes between the 1980s-1990s. One in ten do not make it to their first birthday.
Also particular to Cambodia is a young population, the result of mass migration and war. In the 1998 census, more than 40% of the population were under 15 years of age.
The report highlights the need for education, at all levels, in all regions, to stem exploding population growth.
A population policy is a policy that a country engages in in order to get its population to a level that it feels is optimal for it. Though we often think of this in terms of policies that are meant to reduce population growth, population policy can also be aimed at increasing the population.
Perhaps the most famous example of a population policy is China's one child policy. In this policy, China has been trying to limit family sizes so as to reduce population growth. However, other countries, such as Singapore, have at times tried to do things like offering tax incentives to encourage people to have more children.
Population policies are geared towards ensuring that the country has its optimum desired population which the government believes is sufficient to maintain the GDP per capita ratio and labor force numbers, and reduce the number of dependents on families' incomes or government social welfare. Population policies depend on the policies of the elected party and the objectives of the government. That is, population policies can either encourage or discourage the procreation of families (these policies usually do not support procreation outside of wedlock).
An example of a country with population policies is China. The Chinese government enforces the one child policy which simply means that every family is allowed to have one child and a family that has more than one has to pay a penalty. Other countries like Canada and Australia have more subtle population policies known as a baby bonus in which the government pays money to the parents of newborns or wards who adopt children.