Population policies have a bad press. Although governments worldwide have pursued policies aiming to alter demographic trends, ‘population policy’ has become synonymous in Britain with sinister notions of enforced abortions and one-child restrictions in China. This is a shame. At their best population policies are a means for governments to pre-empt demographic challenges and respond coherently, and can be as innocuous as providing better childcare with an explicit, if not primary, aim of raising fertility. But should altering demography be a political concern at all?
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