a1 Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
a2 Energy and Resources Group, Room 100, Bldg T-4, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
a3 Bing Professor of Population Studies, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5020, USA.
The decline and subsequent above-replacement plateau in Costa Rican fertility rates illustrates a demographic pattern that is apparent in other developing countries. This paper discusses the complexity of factors that contribute to the fertility plateau in Costa Rica. These contributory factors include the social and economic status of women, socio-economic conditions in general, lack of government commitment to and supply of family planning services relative to demand, deficient sex and family-planning education, and the powerful institutional influence of the Catholic Church.
We then discuss possible strategies, for developing and developed nations alike, to slow and eventually halt the exponential growth of the global human population. For this quintessential need the most important strategies, we suggest, are targeted education for both sexes and provision of comprehensive contraceptive and abortion services.