Zero Population Growth

November 24, 1971

Report Outline
Rising Pressure for a National Policy
Consequences of Growth and Non-Growth
Prospects for Achieving Zero Population Growth
Special Focus

Rising Pressure for a National Policy

Proposals for Policy to Discourage Added Growth

A “GREAT DEBATE” is shaping up on the questions of whether, when and how the United States should act to try to bring its population growth to a halt. The catch phrase of the debate is “zero population growth,” or ZPG. It means that births, in combination with net immigration, would not exceed deaths in the nation. The issues implied by ZPG are sharpening at this time because the United States is moving, for the first time in its history, toward establishing an official policy on national population growth.

The Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, a blue-ribbon panel with mandates from both the President and Congress, has declared that a national policy on stabilization of population is an urgent necessity. “The time has come to ask what level of population growth is good for the United States,” the commission said in an interim report in March 1971, a year in advance of its scheduled final report. In Congress, a series of hearings has been conducted since August 1971 on a resolution sponsored by 34 Senators and 22 House members to declare it a matter of national policy that the United States, by voluntary means, seek to stabilize its population.

That population growth must be curbed if man is to survive for long with any degree of comfort on this finite globe is now a proposition of near-universal acceptance, in theory if not in practice. But from this point on the questions pile up: How can zero population growth be achieved? How can government intervene successfully in so private a matter as the decision of a couple to have or not have a baby? Can individuals be persuaded to deny themselves wanted children on the basis of conjectures about a future they will not live to see? Should the government tax the fertile, reward the childless, curtail immigration? How can minority groups be convinced that pressure to limit family size is not a form of genocide?.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 16, 2015  Global Population Growth
Nov. 16, 2012  Changing Demographics
Nov. 21, 2008  Declining Birthrates
Jul. 17, 1998  Population and the Environment
Jul. 16, 1993  Population Growth
Oct. 26, 1984  Feeding a Growing World
Aug. 02, 1974  World Population Year
Nov. 24, 1971  Zero Population Growth
Nov. 01, 1967  Population Profile of the United States
Aug. 15, 1962  Population Control
Jun. 13, 1952  Overpopulation
Mar. 10, 1930  Population Problems
Population Control