JAMAICA. National Population Policy of 1992. (The Jamaica National Population Policy, Revised Version, Kingston, Jamaica, Planning Institute, July 1992.)




The ultimate goal of the National Population Policy is to improve the satisfaction of basic human needs and the quality of life of the Jamaican people in areas such as housing, health and nutrition, education, transportation and environmental conditions. The realization of this goal is highly dependent on the achievement of the following quantitative and qualitative goals.



To ensure that the population does not exceed the number of persons that can be supported by the nation at satisfactory standards of living. In order to achieve this, the population should have an average growth rate of below 0.8 percent per annum over the next three decades. On this basis, the population will not exceed 2.7 million by the year 2000, or 3.0 million by the year 2020. This growth rate is in keeping with a downward trend to our ultimate goal of zero population growth.

It is important to ensure that certain levels of fertility, mortality and external migration are achieved and maintained, as discussed below. In addition, to ensure that the population is economically sustainable, growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of at least one percent per annum must be maintained over the medium term. Equity in the distribution of benefits must also be promoted and maintained so as to achieve an adequate quality of life for the entire population.


It is intended that the average number of children per woman, which declined from almost six (6) in the late 1960s to 2.9 by 1989, should further decline to approximately two (2) children per woman by the year 2000 or shortly thereafter and be maintained at that level.

In order to realize the goal of replacement level fertility, the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) which was estimated at approximately 55 percent in 1989 should reach a level of about 63 percent by the year 2000. Achievement of the desired CPR will require concerted national efforts by the public and private sector including the non-Government organizations.


To promote continued improvement in the average length of life. A specific goal is to increase average life expectancy at birth from its present estimated level of approximately 70-72 years to 74 years by the year 2020.

Success in this area is to be sought primarily through a decrease in infant mortality and mortality due to chronic diseases, motor vehicle accidents and homicides. This will be achieved through programmes aimed at improving: maternal and child health services; the social environment; and, the prevention and control of diseases.



To introduce and promote measures which will influence the flow of external migration in order to:

1. reduce unemployment;

2. ensure the availability of skilled manpower;

3. increase the return flow of skills and resources to meet the development needs of the country;

4. reduce the social cost of family separation due to emigration.

The level of emigration has been an important check on population growth. The targeted rate of population growth is based on the assumption that the existing levels will gradually decline.


To achieve a balance between the spatial distribution of the population and that of development, i.e., investment programmes and projects. It is also necessary to ensure that the spread of population and resources is such as to minimize the adverse effects on the environment.


To promote an adequate quality of life for both sexes. A primary concern is equity between the two in social, cultural and economic matters, including family life (particularly reproductive behavior), legal status, educational opportunities, employment and income levels. Equal access to decision-making processes is considered an essential element of this goal.


To ensure the provision of opportunities and conditions to enable all children to fulfill their potential and enhance their total development as individuals and responsible citizens. Special attention will be paid to the achievement of the survival, protection, education and social well being of disadvantaged children.

Specific measures to achieve this goal include the strengthening of Family Life Education in schools and in the wider community.


To enable the aged to lead comfortable, functional and productive lives by sensitizing the public to their value in the society, recognizing the importance of their roles and by providing opportunities to utilize their skills, as well as support services to meet their needs.


To foster and promote the most responsible, productive and sustainable use of natural resources by the population, and to minimize practices having negative environmental effects.

In order to achieve a satisfactory level of environmental quality, strategies will be developed that are aimed at coordinating, strengthening and expanding remedial programmes.

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The following agencies and institutions will assume specific responsibility in the process of implementing and monitoring the National Population policy:


The Population Policy Co-ordinating Committee (PPCC) which is a multi-sectoral body was appointed by Government in 1982. The Committee is chaired by the Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica and is comprised primarily of senior representatives of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the National Family Planning Board, the Ministry of Health, the University of the West Indies, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Registrar General's Department, the Town Planning Department and the Ministry of Local Government, Youth and Community Development. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been accorded observer/consultancy status on the committee. It is proposed that the Committee be expanded to include one senior representative from the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Sport and one from an umbrella private sector organization. The main functions of the Committee include:

a) being an advisory board to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Ministry of Health on matters of National Population Policy;

b) monitoring the implementation of the National Population Policy, in particular, movements in the three main demographic determinants--fertility, mortality and migration--and recommending changes and adjustments to the policy when necessary in keeping with the changing economic and social conditions;

c) ensuring consistency in the programmes of different agencies involved in population activities in relation to the stated population policy goals;

d) examining and making recommendations in respect of Laws and Acts related to Population Matters; and

e) ensuring broad dissemination of information on all aspects of the population, through its Information, Education and Communica- tion (IEC) sub-committee which monitors the activities of all agencies involved in Population Education.


The promotion of health will continue to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. In line with the World Health Organization's objective of "health for all by the year 2000" the Ministry will continue to improve its network of health facilities while creating optimum conditions for the private sector and for voluntary organizations to complement the activities of the public system. The Ministry will continue to devote special attention to maternal and child health, family planning and the delivery of health care to the most needy strata of the population and to persons living in remote rural areas.

The Ministry of Health will intensify efforts to effect much needed improvement in the Vital Registration System, which provides the data that form the basis for policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation. The Ministry is implementing a component of the Human Resource Development Programme (HRDP) aimed at upgrading and restructuring the Registrar General's Department.


Delivery of family planning services has been a comprehensive programme organized under the leadership of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB). In ensuring access to family planning services for all those who want them the Board devotes special attention to service delivery effected through the Ministry of Health Clinics and to the co-ordination of clinical services offered by the public, private and voluntary sector organizations. Women in the reproductive years are the main target audience for this service.

Outreach services are also promoted islandwide and in selected deep rural areas, utilizing mobile units and outreach programmes which combine informational, educational, and communicational strategies with a community-based distribution of non-clinical methods of contraception.

Proposals to be finalized will address further co-ordination of other bodies or persons in the field of Family Planning and Family Life Education in order to ensure effective and efficient national efforts. The other bodies/persons with whom co-ordination will be effected include private physicians, third party coverage providers and pharmaceutical house and the Ministry of Education.

The Board also undertakes and promotes research, and disseminates information in relation to Family Planning and Family Life Education. It seeks to utilize in appropriate ways all acceptable means of fertility regulation while guaranteeing absolute freedom of choice. The Board monitors the development of research in the area of reproductive behaviour and contraceptive health. Research is ongoing to understand contraceptive behavior, improve the contraceptive method mix to provide more choices for acceptors and potential acceptors. As new or refined means of fertility regulations are developed, the Board reviews these for adoption in Jamaica and if considered appropriate will make recommendations to the Government that such means of fertility regulations be part of the service delivery system.


A population planning and research unit has been set up within the Planning Institute of Jamaica. This unit, which is the Technical Secretariat to the Population Policy Coordinating Committee (PPCC), is responsible for ensuring the integration of the goals of the National Population Policy into development plans and monitoring activities of other agencies in matters of Population Policy. Through its research activities, the socio-economic determinants of fertility, mortality and migration are studied and recommendations made to modify these in socially desirable directions.

Research, demographic analysis and evaluation activities relating to Jamaica's population and development trends and to programmes aimed at achieving the objectives of the National Population Policy should continue to be co-ordinated by the PIOJ in collaboration with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the National Family Planning Board, the Ministry of Health and the University of the West Indies.