High birth rates in Africa contribute to poor health and poverty
The UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are "difficult or impossible to meet" without curbing population growth, a UK parliamentary group says.
It concludes that a high birth rate in poor nations contributes to poor health and education and environmental damage.
The global population is forecast to reach about nine billion by 2050.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health will publish its report later this month.
It has spent six months taking evidence from expert witnesses for the report, Population Growth - Its Impact on the MDGs.
"No country has ever raised itself out of poverty without stabilising population growth," said the group's vice-chairman, Richard Ottaway MP, at a seminar on population issues this week.
"And the MDGs are going to be difficult or impossible to attain without a levelling out of population growth in developing countries."
Over the course of the last century, the global population rose from under two billion to just over six billion.
The bulk of the growth came in developing countries.
"Ethiopia had five million people in 1900; now it has 64 million, of whom eight million are receiving food aid," said Mr Ottaway. The projected figure for 2050, he said, was 145 million.
Growth is now levelling off in most of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East; but in much of sub-Saharan Africa it remains very high.
Whereas many Asian countries are seeing birth rates of about two children per family, some African nations are still around five per family.
The UN's own report into the MDGs earlier this year noted that the number of people living on less than $1 a day in Asia dropped by nearly a quarter of a billion people between 1990 and 2002. But in Africa, the number in extreme poverty increased by 140 million.
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