Thanks to our incredible network of members and supporters, we had another successful year raising awareness and educating Americans on the pressing issues facing our world due to rapid population growth. In a year during which the human population soared past 8 billion and the U.S. Supreme Court ended the right to abortion nationwide—a right that had been in place for nearly 50 years—we redoubled our grassroots efforts to achieve global population stabilization.

Throughout the year, we amplified the links between population growth and environmental challenges, especially climate change; raised awareness about the importance of universal, affordable access to family planning options; and educated activists on the urgency of stabilizing global population.

What’s more, thanks to our generous supporters, we significantly expanded our Global Partners Program to support 19 small, local nonprofits operating in developing countries, from Guatemala to Madagascar to Nepal, to advance our mission on the ground around the world.

Find highlights from our programs below:


In 2022, world population ballooned past 8 billion, according to United Nations projections.

The last time we marked a population milestone of this magnitude was in 2011, when we surpassed 7 billion. The duration between these major population milestones has become ever shorter: We reached one billion people in 1804, and then 123 years passed before we added a second billion. Now, we add another billion people every 12 years. The UN projects that our population will grow to 9 billion by 2037 and could peak at just over 10 billion in the 2080s—assuming continued fertility decline in today’s high-fertility countries.

Our escalating, interlinked environmental crises, including climate change, resource depletion, and biodiversity loss, reflect our collective failure to address the root causes of these problems, which include human population growth. We are also witnessing setbacks toward development efforts, including the resurgence in world hunger after decades of hard-won progress. Measures to slow population growth through women’s and girls’ empowerment and access to reproductive health care will be key to averting a grim future.

Whenever women gain bodily autonomy and the power to choose their family size, they tend to have fewer children. But 218 million women in the developing world still have an unmet need for modern contraception. We must change this, ending any and all barriers to comprehensive and universal access to all forms of sexual and reproductive health care.

Our population size and trajectory has great bearing on human well-being, planetary health, and our ability to solve the problems we face today. By ramping up investment in the advancement of access to reproductive health care and family planning options around the world, we can significantly slow population growth in the second half of this century and achieve a healthier, more sustainable world.


Discussion with our communications team

During an interactive session, our communications team discussed key takeaways from the UN’s latest report. In addition, they shared resources to help individuals discuss the milestone with others, along with their latest blog posts and tips on writing opinion editorial articles.

See the presentation here

Webinar with Population Education

Two Population Education staff members shared PopEd’s latest lesson plans and the new World of 8 Billion student video contest website! Through curriculum resources and teacher training workshops, PopEd is teaching the next generation to think critically about population dynamics and demographic trends.

Watch the webinar here


Published op-eds

Read our VP for Communications Marian Starkey’s column in Ms. Magazine explaining the history and projected future of world population growth.

Read our VP for Marketing’s op-ed featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune calling attention to the importance of increasing domestic and international investment in voluntary family planning as we reach the 8 billion mark.

Read our VP for Communications Marian Starkey’s op-ed featured in The Hill in response to the UN’s new population estimates and projections released on World Population Day in July 2022.


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Eight reasons to be concerned about our population reaching 8 billion

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8 Billion Reasons to Commemorate This Year's World Population Day

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Women's March


After the devastating Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, our sister organization, Population Connection Action Fund, rapidly responded by launching its Abortion Defenders campaign. This committed group of 150 grassroots volunteers fought back by protesting at rallies, contacting their legislators, and demonstrating their commitment to reproductive rights in the U.S. and around the world!

Population Connection Action Fund hosted Dara Purvis, law professor and Population Connection and Population Connection Action Fund board member, to help activists understand what a post-Roe world might look like. Over 40 supporters attended, ready to rally with other committed reproductive rights activists and take action against the tragic loss of the constitutional right to abortion.


The Action Fund also hosted a panel with medical professionals, lawyers, and humanitarians to speak about how their work would change post-Roe. That discussion, Beyond Our Borders: How the Fall of Roe Impacts Sub-Saharan Africa, is available below:




Access to family planning is a key solution to health, development, and environmental challenges. In a year that saw the fall of Roe, our sister organization, Population Connection Action Fund, fought back, mobilizing hundreds of activists to continue to stand up for reproductive rights domestically and abroad.

Through advocacy training workshops, social media campaigns, and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts, activists sharpened their skills to influence reproductive health policies and learned communication tools and advocacy techniques to protect reproductive rights in the United States and funding for family planning services overseas. 

In March 2022, along with our sister organization, Population Connection Action Fund, we hosted our annual signature advocacy conference, Capitol Hill Days. The event brought together over 170 activists from across the country to learn how to advocate effectively for reproductive rights with workshop trainings and presentations from experts in the field.

The six-day event kicked off with welcome remarks from Representative Barbara Lee. After her inspiring speech, we had a discussion about reproductive health policies with providers and reproductive rights professionals. Once they addressed the most pressing challenges, our speakers laid out the most effective advocacy strategies moving forward.


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Supreme Court Issues Dystopian Decision, Reversing Roe

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Rally in Portland, Maine, on September 1, 2021, the day S.B. 8 went into effect in Texas (Marian Starkey)

Draconian Texas Abortion Ban Went Into Effect Today

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Population Education (PopEd) plays an integral role in achieving our mission by educating the next generation of leaders and activists to think more critically about how population trends relate to global issues. This program provides resources and development tools for K-12 educators, focusing on human population trends and their impacts on natural resources, environmental quality, and human well-being. 

In 2022, our PopEd team facilitated over 500 workshops, providing over 10,000 educators with the tools they need to help an estimated 3 million students grow their understanding of population dynamics and environmental health.

World of 7 Billion student video contest

Initially created in 2010 to mark the global population reaching 7 billion in 2011, our student video contest is now in its 13th year of encouraging students worldwide to think critically about the connections between human population growth and the environmental issues facing our planet. In short films, students tackle each year’s chosen topics and propose creative solutions to global challenges. Through the creative video-making process, the contest helps the next generation develop 21st century skills while investigating the complexity of real-world challenges.

Winners of 2021-2022 contest were announced in May 2022, with press appearances highlighting the winning students in Spectrum News, Daily Local News, and the Miami Local News.

Marking 8 billion in the classroom

To mark the 8 billion milestone, which, according to the UN Population Division, officially occurred on November 15, 2022, Population Education rolled out new teacher resources, including the launch of the new World of 8 Billion student video contest website! The user-friendly World of 8 Billion website will continue encouraging student participation in the annual video contest, giving young people a platform to share their ideas on how to tackle global problems related to population growth.

In an interactive session with Population Education staff, Population Connection members and volunteers learned more about how we’re supporting teachers with the latest lesson plans, learning tools, and hands-on activities to educate students on the major demographic milestone.


After nearly two years of virtual trainings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our Population Education team resumed hosting in-person teacher trainings and in-service workshops in 2022! Moving forward, the PopEd team is offering a blend of virtual and in-person workshops, enabling us to connect with more educators than ever before!

In mid-July, our Population Education team held a two-day Leadership Institute for 26 new trainers in Ashland, Massachusetts. Our participants came from 19 states and two Canadian provinces! They included K-12 teachers, university educators, and informal environmental educators. This was the first in-person Institute since summer 2019. It was a fantastic group of people, all eager to get more involved in representing PopEd in their local areas!


Photo c/o Andrew Clark

Since 2020, we have hosted frequent online gatherings such as expert talks, book club meetings, film screenings, and more! These virtual events offer a convenient way for Population Connection members and supporters to stay up-to-date on population-related issues and connect with fellow supporters. In 2022, we successfully hosted 23 online events, engaging with a community of 1,025 individuals involved in the pursuit of global population stabilization.


Demography Series

From March to June 2022, Senior Analyst Hannah Evans hosted monthly educational sessions that explored the various ways in which human population trends and dynamics affect global sustainable development and environmental change.

Throughout the series, she delved into important questions such as: What factors contribute to development within a society? What influences fertility rates? How do fertility rates, poverty, and access to social and natural resources relate to each other? What does it mean to take a “human rights approach” to studying population and the environment?

Earth Day

We marked Earth Day 2022 with a month-long series of events, including a film screening, panel discussion, and presentation with one of our Global Partners. Our primary goal was to raise awareness about the profound impact of rapid population growth on environmental sustainability efforts. We successfully engaged with 358 members and supporters!

Our event series commenced with a screening of The Singing Planet, a captivating film showcasing our natural world’s magnificence while urging everyone to contribute to its preservation. Following the screening, we had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with filmmaker Liz McKenzie and renowned natural sounds recordist Hank Lentfer.

Our Global Partner Lemur Love, a nonprofit organization operating in Madagascar, delivered a fascinating presentation to our members and supporters. During this session, the Founder and Director, Marni LaFleur, highlighted conservation success stories and shared her expertise on the significance of preserving lemur habitats by supporting the well-being of neighboring communities.

Summer Photo Contest

Photo c/o Jeanie Cole

We hosted our first annual Summer Photo Contest, extending an invitation to members across the country to share their photographs that showcase the beauty of natural landscapes, diverse cultures, and wildlife, inspiring them to contribute towards a sustainable future for our planet.

We were blown away by the enthusiasm from our entrants who submitted over 45 captivating photos that brilliantly captured breathtaking scenes across the planet. The winning photograph and a few honorable mentions were featured in the September edition of Population Connection magazine.


Girls lining up at Nasaruni Academy in Kenya

Since 2016, we have served as a grantmaker to a handful of small- to mid-sized, highly-effective organizations working on the ground in their communities in developing countries. Their programs address girls’ education, conservation, family planning, and more, aligning closely with our mission and values. Their efforts make a vital difference in their local communities and represent the “final step” in our shared work to stabilize global population.

In 2022, thanks to key support from a very generous donor—and a matching gift campaign supported by hundreds of other Population Connection members—we were able to greatly expand this program to support more organizations.

We’re currently partnering with 19 organizations, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America. Learn more about each of our Global Partners and their inspiring work contributing to a more stable and sustainable future for our entire planet. Meet two of our newest Global Partners below!

Seeds for a Future

In 2004, a group of archeology volunteers working in the Chocolá area in Suchitepequez, Guatemala, wanted to try to help the people of the area with whom they had collaborated. In rural Guatemala, government services are minimal, and malnutrition, food insecurity, and poverty are widespread. The volunteers held a community meeting to ask residents what they needed most, and it became clear that their responses could be generalized to the fundamental underlying need to take better care of their families and create a better future for them. Seeds for a Future was officially founded in 2007 to help rural communities become self-reliant and thrive.

Learn More About Seeds for a Future

African Education Program

The African Education Program (AEP) works to unlock the potential of Zambia’s youth and adults by building and growing community-led organizations.

Zambia has one of the world’s fastest growing and youngest populations, with people under the age of 25 making up 68% of the total population. AEP helps young people fulfill their potential by providing a safe learning center and delivering programs on quality and inclusive education, health and well-being, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, the arts and creativity, and leadership development.

Learn More About African Education Program



Aaron S. Allen, PhD

Director of the Environmental & Sustainability Program, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Rodrigo Barillas, MD, MBA (Secretary)

Global Director, Luis von Ahn Foundation

Amy Dickson, MPH

Benefits Division Director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing

Bryce Hach, MS (Chair)

Biology & Environmental Science Teacher, North Yarmouth Academy

Mark Hathaway, MD, MPH

Director, Family Planning Services, Unity Health Care, Inc., & Sr. Technical Advisor for Reproductive Health, Jhpiego

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, BVetMed, MsPVM

Founder and CEO, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)

Seema Mohapatra, JD, MPH

M.D. Anderson Foundation Endowed Professor in Health Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

Melvine Ouyo, BScN, MPA, MPH (Vice Chair)

Founder & ED, HKSAI & Independent Consultant, Population Connection Action Fund

Bob Pettapiece, EdD (Treasurer)

Professor of Teacher Education, Wayne State University (Retired)

Estelle M. Raboni, MPH, MCHES (ex officio)

Director, Sexual & Reproductive Health, Bureau of Maternal, Infant & Reproductive Health NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene

Heather Smith, DMgt, MBA, MSM

Foreign Service Population, Health, and Nutrition Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development

Mary Beth Weinberger, MA

Chief, Population and Development Section, UN Population Division (Retired)

Kevin Whaley, PhD

CEO, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc.