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Population and Development

It is important to plan for sustainability to ensure that people are at the forefront of the development agenda. On a global scale, countries have largely acknowledged the significance of population dynamics and the role that the challenges of demographic change play. These inputs reveal essential data to provide timely responses to population trends, such as where progress is being made, where the real needs lie, and how to anticipate what is to come.

UNFPA’s work is crucial to the realization of the goals set by the international community to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. It is therefore important to take into account factors such as the ageing of the population, internal and international migration, urbanization and issues related to fertility.
Policy must be driven by accurate, reliable and current data. It is therefore critical that Governments  prioritise the collection, monitoring and analysis  of demographic trends, and that this information be utilised to inform all aspects of national planning. 
Accurate population data is not only critical for development, but also for addressing global health emergencies such as COVID-19. For example, governments need up-to-date knowledge of population densities in major cities, as locations of higher transmission; the elevated case fatality rates among older populations demand knowledge of where older people are clustered and even basic metrics on COVID-19 case loads require accurate population denominators by location. The English and Dutch speaking Caribbean countries and territories are also going through the intermediate stage of the demographic transition. Most of these countries currently have a high median population age. Based on the most recent population estimates for the sub-region, the majority of the countries have a median population age in the mid-to-late 20s and some have even graduated to early 30s. 

The region is experiencing a time when the proportion of people between 15 and 60 years of age (dependent population) is growing steadily, in relation to that of people under 15 and over 60 years of age. This transition stage places the region at the time of the so-called “demographic bonus”, where the percentage of the population of working and producing age is more than double that of the dependent population.
To take advantage of this situation, it is necessary to have the appropriate capacities and the creation of opportunities that allow society to optimize the benefits of having a greater proportion of the population with the capacity to work, produce, save and invest. This implies that more resources must be available to invest in a sustained manner in youth and in social policies that improve conditions, through a new structure and composition of the population.

UNFPA seeks to strengthen national policies and international development agendas through the integration of evidence-based analysis on the relationships between population dynamics, sustainable development, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and gender equality.