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The Population Council is an international, nonprofit, non-governmental organization. The Council conducts research in biomedicine, social science, and public health and helps build research capacities in developing countries.[1][2] One-third of its research relates to HIV and AIDS; while its other major program areas are in reproductive health and its relation to poverty, youth, and gender.[3] For example, the Population Council strives to teach boys that they can be involved in contraceptive methods regardless of stereotypes that limit male responsibility in child bearing.[3] The organization held the license for Norplant contraceptive implant, and now holds the license for Mirena intrauterine system. The Population Council also publishes the journal Population and Development Review, which reports scientific research on the interrelationships between population and socioeconomic development. It also provides a forum for discussion on related issues of public policy and Studies in Family Planning, which focuses on public health, social science, and biomedical research involving sexual and reproductive health, fertility, and family planning.

Population Council
Population Council Logo.png
Requests for use: Contact Population Council.
Formation 1952 (1952)
Type NGO
Purpose Reproductive health
Headquarters New York City, USA
John D. Rockefeller III
$74 million



Established in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller III, with important funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Council is governed by an international board of trustees. After many years of evolving, the 2006 council board includes leaders in many different fields. These include: biomedicine, business, economic development, government, health, international finance, media studies, philanthropy, and social science.

Headquartered in New York City, the Population Council has 18 offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and does work in more than 60 countries. With an annual budget of around $74 million, it employs more than 500 people from 33 countries with expertise in a wide array of scientific disciplines. Roughly 55 percent are based outside the United States.

John D. Rockefeller III convened distinguished scientists in Williamsburg, Virginia, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, to begin the search for a better understanding of demographic trends. Shortly thereafter, in 1952, he established the Population Council as an independent, nonprofit organization. He serves as the Council's first president. [4]

Reproductive healthEdit

The Council conducts biomedical research to develop contraceptives and social science research to better understand the factors influencing access to and decision-making around contraceptives.[5] Its research on reproductive and immunological processes serves, not only as the basis for the development of new contraceptive methods that reach out to both men and women, but also for new hormone therapies and AIDS-prevention products. The council is involved in a "collaboration with industry partner ProMed Pharma to develop innovative new vaginal rings that may make STI prevention more acceptable and effective for women."[6]

In the 1960s, the Council played a key role in documenting the large numbers of people in poor countries who lacked access to contraceptives and in conducting research to design and evaluate public family planning programs.This included bringing IUDs to India. [7] At this time, the Council's biomedical researchers worked to develop contraceptive methods, such as the intrauterine device. The council has found that fertility is "most sensitive to changes in the proportions married and prevalence of contraception." A country's ideas around reproduction out of wedlock, its accessibility, and the public's opinion of birth control are instrumental in the region's fertility.[8]

An array of contraceptives available around the world today were developed by the Population Council, including: the Copper T Intrauterine device, Norplant, Jadelle (Norplant II), and Mirena. More than 50 million Copper T IUDs have been distributed in over 70 countries. Norplant was replaced by Jadelle.

The British medical journal Lancet said of the Population Council, "Most non-governmental organizations claim to promote change; the Population Council actually has hard evidence of having changed the lives and expectations of hundreds of millions of people."[9]

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