The decline and subsequent above-replacement plateau in Costa Rican fertility rates illustrates a demographic pattern that is apparent in other developing countries. This paper discusses the complexity of factors that contribute to the fertility plateau in Costa Rica. These contributory factors include the social and economic status of women, socio-economic conditions in general, lack of government commitment to and supply of family planning services relative to demand, deficient sex and family-planning education, and the powerful institutional influence of the Catholic Church.
We then discuss possible strategies, for developing and developed nations alike, to slow and eventually halt the exponential growth of the global human population. For this quintessential need the most important strategies, we suggest, are targeted education for both sexes and provision of comprehensive contraceptive and abortion services.