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This report presents results of a national survey of how Americans view global demographic trends and issues in the context of U.S. international economic assistance. The survey asked about three groups of topics: attitudes about U.S. economic assistance overseas and priorities for targeting U.S. aid; knowledge and views of global demographic facts and trends; and views on specific issues, including family planning programs, abortion, and congressional actions on population-policy measures. The survey found that, notwithstanding a perception that Americans have become more absorbed with domestic problems since the end of the Cold War, a majority feels that U.S. economic assistance to other countries is necessary and appropriate. Most Americans lack knowledge about the world's population size and growth rate but are nonetheless concerned about global population growth and its possible consequences. Support for U.S. funding of voluntary family planning activities, both overseas and domestically, is strong. The legal right to abortion, however, remains a contentious issue that divides the American public.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements


  • Acronyms

  • Errata

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two


  • Chapter Three

    Public Attitudes Toward U.S. International Economic Assistance

  • Chapter Four

    Americans' Knowledge and Views of World Demographic Trends

  • Chapter Five

    Specific Population Issues

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Implications

  • Appendix A

    Questionnaire with Response Totals

  • Appendix B

    Methodology for the Survey and the Analysis

  • Appendix C

    Description of the 11 Factors and Results of Regression Analysis

  • Appendix D

    Data from Respondents with Various Views on Abortion and Family Planning

  • Bibliography

The study is a product of the Population Matters project within RAND Labor and Population unit.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.