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Instead of focusing on aggregate population statistics and trends, many stakeholder communities in the international arena have become more focused on individual- and family-level quality-of-life issues, such as access to health and family planning services and freedom to achieve desired family size. RAND's Population Matters program conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,500 Americans to assess the extent to which Americans' views on the subject accord with this international shift in emphasis. According to the survey: (1) The American public's support for international economic assistance is at its highest level since 1974. (2) Most Americans are not well informed about world population size. (3) A vast majority of the American public (92 percent) believes that individuals and families should have the right both to determine the number of children they will have and to have access to the necessary means and information for accomplishing this. Most Americans also see voluntary family planning programs (excluding abortion) as necessary and beneficial and favor U.S. funding for voluntary family planning programs in developing countries.

Population Matters is sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.

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