Population Matters



Population concern and family size are sensitive and sometimes controversial issues. Population Matters is driven by our vision and values and a desire to create a sustainable future for all: on this page, we’ll try to address concerns people might have about Population Matters, what we believe, what we want and what we do.
Because population is a sensitive topic, our policy positions are sometimes misrepresented

Population Matters opposes coercion

While Population Matters expresses concerns regarding human population numbers and lobbies actively to reduce their growth, we are wholly opposed to punitive population control, forced sterilisation or abortions or any other activity which violates human rights. The right to have children, or to have none, is a human right. Population Matters aims to enable women and men to access family planning and have the choice to do that.

Women’s empowerment is central to our goals

Population Matters advocates actively for women’s empowerment. We believe that all women should have the right to determine whether or not they want to have children, along with all other human rights. This includes the right to access and use contraception without discrimination or control. Women and girls deserve equal access to education, full political rights, the ability and freedom to gain employment  and to have every right and opportunity men do. We also know that where they have those, fertility almost always falls.

Population Matters promotes reduced consumption as well as population stabilisation

Population Matters aims to achieve a sustainable future in which all humans and wildlife thrive. In order to achieve that, people must take action to address not just total population size but consumption too. While birth rates are comparatively low in most developed nations, each individual consumes at rates which are unsustainably high. For that reason, Population Matters advocates sustainable lifestyles and supports the development and usage of technology in order to reduce waste and improve efficiency. We also advocate for smaller family sizes, which immediately and effectively reduce consumption by reducing the number of new consumers.

People in developing countries do not consume at the same unsustainable levels as the rich at present, and indeed many of their citizens live in dire poverty. They have a right to economic development. In developing countries, population growth is often high, caused by an unmet need for contraception and a lack of women’s empowerment. Large families make it more difficult to escape poverty. Empowering people to control their family sizes and limiting population growth will help to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals and also to ensure that in a world in which fewer people are poor, there are enough resources for all in the future.

Population concern is ‘colour blind’

Population Matters opposes all racism, vehemently and as a matter of principle. We see population stabilisation as a necessary condition for a sustainable future in which all of humanity thrives. All countries have a responsibility to stabilise population and bring consumption to sustainable levels. These goals must be met without discrimination of any kind.

Population Matters believes migration is an issue we must all address

Many conflicts are, at least in part, caused by resource scarcity. Climate change pressures, conflict, and political conditions  force many to migrate. Migration can also put a strain on the sustainability of destination countries. There are economic and environmental limits to how many people these countries can accommodate, and it can be argued that migration flows only move or spread the challenges faced, as opposed to solving them. These are complex issues without simple solutions.

Population Matters believes countries must meet their responsibilities to accept and support refugees and opposes any immigration policy which discriminates on racial, religious or cultural grounds. We also believe, however, that a realistic discussion of population pressures must include recognition of the impact of migration, and must address the management of immigration as well as the pressures that drive emigration and what can be done to overcome them.

More information

Learn more about our policies and values.