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Does Family Planning Bring down Fertility?

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Many demographers say that millions of women lack access to contraception, and if that gap is filled, they will have fewer children. But some economists argue that couples have large families because they want them, and until desired family size drops, family planning programs are a waste of money. As part of Science’s 29 July 2011 special issue on Population, Jocelyn Kaiser highlights this long-standing debate as well as data that are now bringing the two sides closer together.

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