The present publication is part of the effort of the Population Division to disseminate the information resulting from its monitoring activities in relation to fertility, contraception and population policies.
Government's views and policies with regard to the use of contraceptives have changed considerably during the second half of the 20th century. At the same time, many developing countries have experienced a transition from high to low fertility with a speed and magnitude that far exceeds the earlier fertility transition in European countries. Government policies on access to contraceptives have played an important role in the shift in reproductive behaviour. Low fertility now prevails in some developing countries, as well as in most developed countries. The use of contraception is currently widespread throughout the world. The highest prevalence rates at present are found in more developed countries and in China.