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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – December 16, 2002: UN Population Study - 2002-12-12

Broadcast: December 16, 2002

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations Population Fund has released a new study on the condition of the world’s population. The main idea of the report is poverty and its relationship to population issues. It says that several steps need to be taken immediately to reduce poverty by half by the year two-thousand-fifteen.

The first is to improve health care systems. In the world’s poorest countries, people are expected to live just forty-nine years. One in ten children do not reach their first birthday. The study says that poor health and poverty are linked.

The report also says that women are affected most by poor health care systems, especially pregnant women. It says that better reproductive health can reduce poverty and build economic growth. The report says family planning and helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies are also ways to reduce poverty.

The study says that when given a choice, poor people in developing countries have fewer children than their parents did. Smaller families have fewer expenses and more chances to increase their earnings and savings.

Since nineteen-seventy, developing countries with lower birth rates and slower population growth have had faster economic growth. They have had higher productivity, more savings and more investment.

The report also notes that poor people are more at risk for the infection that causes AIDS. This is because they lack the knowledge and power to protect themselves against the disease.

The report says that investing in education, especially for women, can also reduce poverty. Educated women have more choices in life and are more likely to send their children to school. The study found that the right to an education has improved over the past ten years. However, poor people in many developing countries are still less likely to attend school. The report urges governments to change this and make sure all citizens learn to read and write.

The U-N study also says that women and men should be treated equally. This means that legal and human rights for women should be strengthened, as well as their ability to earn money and speak out socially and politically.The U-N report says that half the world’s population live on less than two dollars a day. One-thousand-million people live on less than one dollar a day.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.