This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, December 9, 2017

More Evidence That Contraception is a Good Thing

With reproductive rights generally under assault by the Trump administration, it is helpful that a new study just came out highlighting the importance of having contraception available to young women. This week's Economist reports on a working paper (presumably about to be published) by researchers at Stanford University.
Few tasks in developing countries are as tricky—or as important—as convincing parents to keep their daughters in school longer. One way of doing so is to make contraceptives available, concludes a new working paper by Kimberly Singer Babiarz at Stanford University and four other researchers.
Conducted in Malaysia, the study used a happy coincidence of surveys going back decades and family-planning programmes rolled out in a way that made it possible to measure their effect. Starting in the 1960s, these programmes were introduced in some areas a few years earlier than in others. So researchers could compare what happened to girls in areas where contraceptives became available when they were very young with girls from the same cohorts in areas with no contraceptives.
It turns out that girls in the areas with higher contraceptive availability stayed in school longer, had better jobs when they left school and were more likely to invite their parents rather than the in-laws to live with them. Of course, you could argue that correlation is not necessarily causation, but the impact of family planning programs is something that this group of researchers has been working. Check out the article published last year in Population and Development Review. 

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