Investments in reproductive health programs and services can make countries
“healthier”—more secure and peaceful, more democratic, and better able to
provide for the needs of their citizens, according to a seminal new report from
PAI. The Shape of Things to Come: Why Age Structure Matters to a Safer, More
Equitable World examines the connections between demographics, reproductive
health, international security, governance and other development issues.
Programs that foster more balanced age structures—such as family planning,
infant and maternal health, and girls’ education—must become a cornerstone of
all international development assistance.
The Shape of Things to Come provides a new way of looking at the
world, placing countries into one of four major age structures: very young,
youthful, transitional and mature. These age structures indicate the comparative
size of specific age groups relative to the population as a whole and each has
its own attendant characteristics, benefits and risks associated with
governance, security and economic development. It finds that countries with a
more balanced age structure are more stable, democratic and highly developed.
Young people are a tremendous asset for any society, especially if they are
educated, healthy, and living in a safe and equitable world. Investments in
sound population and sexual and reproductive health and rigpopact policies can play
a significant role in advancing global development—creating an environment where
Demography does not have to be destiny: Government capacity, policies and
political commitment will always matter more than absolute numbers. By
committing to improving women’s status in society and investing in voluntary
family planning programs, nations can significantly impact the shape of things
to come and build a healthier and more peaceful future for their citizens.