Ideas to Action:

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Demographics and Development in the 21st Century

Journalist Martin Wolf of the Financial Times has called population "the most important issue confronting humanity in this century." Important new books on the future of development have devoted significant attention to it. Debates about population policy continue to stir and columnists and academics argue about what lies ahead if global population challenges are ignored. Population—the study of people using the tool of demography—is now appearing across development discourse, with policy implications that reach far beyond family planning and reproductive health.

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Population is undeniably important—but how, for whom, and with what consequences is a complex story. Two things are certain:

  1. Population issues in the 21st century are different from those in the last century.
  2. With the development world midway through an uncertain effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, population issues will be central to the success or failure of six of the eight goals.

CGD is launching an initiative to examine the role of population in development that, through a series of lectures, will recast the current development agenda to include the broad implications of demographic change.

View the series here.

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