Population policy is made by national governments in an effort to either limit or expand the number of people in their country. For countries with high population growth rates, population policy generally includes programs to encourage family planning, birth spacing, and delaying the birth of a woman's first child. In the 1990s, many countries began to include improvements in women's reproductive health as part of their population policies. The national family planning programs begun in various African countries are good examples of this aspect of population policy.
Countries with very low or negative population growth rates have sometimes encouraged families to have more children through policies such as extended maternity leave with pay and family support payments. Population policy can also include measures to increase or decrease immigration.
ANNE R. PEBLEY