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Real LifeWhy I Give: Jeffrey Passel
In the late 1960s, population trends were just becoming a part of people's conversations. I began to appreciate the importance of voluntary family planning and its impact on maternal health and social and economic development in the U.S. and worldwide. This piqued my interest in demography, and after getting my masters in sociology, I applied to become a Population Council fellow.
I have closely followed the Council's work, and I appreciate the importance, breadth and magnitude of its research to empower women and families to control their fertility. It is vital that the Council continue to develop expertise around the world among both scholars and laypeople.
In my work as a demographer, I have collaborated with counterparts in Mexico, a country that has benefitted greatly from the work of organizations like the Population Council. The change in Mexican society has been incredibly dramatic. Back when I started this work in 1970, the average woman was having seven children; by 2000, it was down to roughly 2.2 to 2.4. We have seen these huge decreases in fertility across all educational and socioeconomic levels.
Having couples decide when to have children is very important. We can point to cases like Mexico where it's made a major difference in improving health and reducing inequality and poverty. Yet there is still tremendous work to be done.