CAPS has long been concerned about rapid population growth, which we believe causes or exacerbates a number of problems in California, the United States and around the world. Thus, we support policies that contribute to stabilizing population. This is wide ranging from policy that reduces immigration to programs that provide family planning services.
While our primary focus is in the U.S., we understand that reduced population growth in other countries will help reduce some of the pressure to immigrate here, and we support the work of many outstanding organizations that work globally on population sustainability.
We also understand that our supporters are intelligent, concerned individuals who will not agree with us or with each other on every issue related to population growth. But with common ground that overpopulation is a problem, we hope you will continue to support us on those issues where we share agreement.
CAPS Believes in and Supports
- Promotion of smaller family size.
- Age-appropriate sex education for all adults and youth.
- Wide availability of family planning services, contraception and guidance.
- Increased funding for California's Office of Family Planning and all state programs dealing with pregnancy prevention and contraception.
- Complete insurance coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.
- More money, research and production of newer, safer contraceptive methods, including contraceptive methods for males.
- Preventing unintended pregnancies, especially among teenagers.
- Application of the state and federal child tax credits only to the first two children (with exceptions for adopted and foster care children).
A population will grow or shrink because of changes in fertility, mortality and immigration. At one time, high fertility was the main contributor to population growth in the U.S., such as the post-World War II “Baby Boom.” But after 1972, the fertility rate for American women declined to about 1.8 children and is now at 2.06. Yet, U.S. population has continued to grow faster than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Only China and India have higher total populations than the U.S.
So, one of the other variables that affect population growth was creating this increase. That variable was immigration—both legal and illegal. Over time, cultural groups with fertility rates traditionally higher than replacement became an increasing share of the U.S. population. In California, for example, the increase in population has been so dramatic because of the large number of high-fertility immigrants in their child-bearing years.
So replacement level fertility, although desirable, is only a part of the answer. The widely held idea that population will stabilize over a long period if total fertility is kept at or below replacement level (two children per family) is true only when net immigration is zero. If the number of children per family is less than two, then some net immigration can be used as a method to balance out the lower birth rate.
With the number of unintended pregnancies in the U.S., high abortion rates in cities such as New York City (41 percent) and teen pregnancies, CAPS believes there’s significant opportunity to educate U.S. girls and women about better choices to ensure their health and prosperity and that of their children, which ultimately will also contribute to a sustainable population.
Some Family Planning Facts
- The typical U.S. woman wants two children. To achieve this goal, she must use contraceptives for about three decades.
- There are approximately 4 million births a year in the U.S.
- Nearly half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended.
- In 2009, there were 5,030 births in the U.S. to children age 10 – 14, and 409,840 to girls age 15 - 19.
- Teenage pregnancy in the U.S. remains the highest among the most developed countries in the world. Teen pregnancies and dropping out of high school are two markers for poverty.
- Hispanic and black women have higher birth and pregnancy rates in the U.S., especially under age 25, than non-Hispanic white women.
- Among all Hispanic women in the U.S., those who were foreign-born and who were not citizens had the highest levels of fertility.
- One in four mothers with a recent birth was in poverty in the U.S.
- Among all women 15 to 50 nationwide with a birth in 2007-2008, about 895,000 (20 percent) were foreign-born. Most (654,000) of these foreign-born mothers were not U.S. citizens. California was home to one quarter of these noncitizens (164,000).
Family Health International
California Family Planning Council
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Population Media Center
Population Services International