|Focus||Promotion of smaller families, and sustainable consumption.|
|Method||Research, education, campaigning and lobbying|
|CEO, Simon Ross|
|Slogan||for a sustainable future|
|Optimum Population Trust|
Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust, is a population concern think tank and campaign group expressing concern about the impact of population growth on sustainability, quality of life and the natural environment, specifically natural resources, climate change, and biodiversity.
History and background
The Optimum Population Trust was founded in 1991 by the late David Willey and others who say that "They were impelled to act by the failure of UK governments to respond to a series of recommendations regarding population growth and sustainability." Their goals were to collect, analyse and disseminate information about the sizes of global and national populations and to link this to a study of carrying capacities and inhabitants’ quality of life in order to support policy decisions. The organisation's UK predecessors comprise: The Malthusian League (1877); The Simon Population Trust (1957); The Conservation Society (1966) and Population Concern (1974) an organisation that ultimately merged with Plan UK in 2013.
It prepared analyses and lobbied on issues affected by population growth, including welfare, education, labour supply, population ageing, immigration and the environment. It also lobbied developmental and environmental campaigners on the need to incorporate population issues in their thinking. It was granted charitable status on 9 May 2006. Population Matters was adopted as its campaign name in 2011.
Population Matters carries out research on climate change, energy requirements, biodiversity, and other issues in relation to population numbers. With the vision of reducing populations voluntarily in order to enable acceptable quality of life and protection of wildlife and the environment, it campaigns to stabilize population at a sustainable level through initiating a culture shift towards smaller family sizes worldwide and improving resources for women's empowerment programmes and family planning in lower income countries.
Views and aims
Population Matters states that its intermediate aims are: improved provision of family planning and sex education, better education and rights for women, and that couples voluntarily smaller families. For the UK specifically, it advocates greater effort to reduce the high rates of teenage pregnancy and unintended pregnancy and more balanced migration for reasons of sustainability.
A study conducted by a graduate from the London School of Economics and sponsored by Population Matters found that, for the past 30 years, increasing population size (driven by high fertility rates) was the primary reason for the number of people living in poverty across the 20 highest fertility nations, despite more people in these countries receiving aid. In addition to this, Population Matters has stated that continued growth has been affecting the living standards of people of the UK, particularly in the South East of England and London. The benefits of moderating population size are not limited to raising living standards and general environmental protection. In 2009, Population Matters issued a study asserting that contraception was also the cheapest way of combating climate change.
Population Matters is concerned that the planet may not be able to support more than half of its present numbers before the end of the century.  In a recent survey commissioned by Population Matters, it was found that the majority of people surveyed shared these concerns, with four out of five (84%) thinking that the world population was too high and over half (53%) thinking that world population was much too high.
Campaigns and initiatives
Population Matters is the largest population concern advocacy group in the UK. With its members firmly believing that population can be stabilized and then reduced without coercion, Population Matters actively campaigns for sustainable population size in the UK and overseas and raises awareness about overpopulation, encouraging and enabling people to opt for a smaller family size.
Population Matters has been criticised for calling for "zero-net migration" to the UK, and in December 2013, argued that the UK should accept no refugees from Syria. In the same year, they supported a UK government policy of stopping child benefit and tax credits for third and subsequent children; a policy described by journalist Polly Toynbee as representing “a eugenic undercurrent in Tory thinking".
The Population Matters Overshoot Index presents assessments of the extent to which countries and regions of the world are considered to be able to support themselves on the basis of their own renewable resources.
Probably the most famed patron of Population Matters is naturalist David Attenborough, who has been outspoken in his advocacy for the cause for many years.  He has been vocal about the growing population in recent years and backs Population Matters in campaigning for a "more sustainable future."
The patrons are:
- Sir David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE, naturalist, broadcaster and trustee of the Royal Botanical Gardens
- Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, Cambridge University
- Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford and author of The Population Bomb
- Baroness Shreela Flather, politician and past mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
- Dr Jane Goodall DBE, founder, Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messengers of Peace
- John Guillebaud, Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, UCL
- Susan Hampshire OBE, actress and population campaigner
- Dr James Lovelock CBE, scientist and environmentalist known for proposing the Gaia theory
- Joanna Lumley actress, voice-over artist, former model, author and activist
- Aubrey Manning OBE, Emeritus Professor of Natural History, Edinburgh
- Norman Myers CMG, Visiting Fellow, Oxford, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, California, Berkeley, Michigan and Texas
- Chris Packham, naturalist, author, television presenter and nature photographer
- Sara Parkin OBE, former Green Party of England and Wales activist and politician
- Jonathon Porritt CBE, environmentalist, writer, blogger and Chancellor of Keele University
- Malcolm Potts human reproductive scientist and Professor of Public Health at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Lionel Shriver Journalist and author
- Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO, Chancellor of Kent University and former UK Representative United Nations Security Council
- Futures studies
- List of countries by population
- List of countries by population growth rate
- List of population concern organizations
- List of sovereign states and dependent territories by birth rate
- List of sovereign states and dependent territories by population density
- Optimum population
- Political demography
- Population ageing
- Population density
- Population pyramid
- Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
- Tragedy of the commons
- World population
- Zero population growth
- "Smaller families". populationmatters.org.
- "Consume mindfully". populationmatters.org.
- "Optimum Population Trust". UK Web Archive. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Story". populationmatters.org/.
- "Population concern". www.populationmatters.org.
- "Charities' Commission: Charity Number: 1114109". Charities' Commission. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Optimum Population". Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Breaking the Taboo about Human Population Growth a talk by Population Matters". meetup.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Why current population growth is costing us the Earth". The Guardian. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "What Population Growth Means for Development". capacity4dev.eu. European Commission. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "UK population rises 400,00 to 64m". Yorkshire Post. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "UK population increases by 400,000". Belfast Telegraph. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "'Contraception cheapest way to combat climate change'". The Telegraph. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Sir David Attenborough backs campaign to limit human population". The Telegraph. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Population Growth and Migration". Independence Educational Publishers. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Wesley J. Smith (27 January 2016). "Population Matters: We are "Plague of Locusts"". National Review Online. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Population Control: the last great environmental taboo?". Vabishingspecies. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "The pressure is on for public services as the UK's population reaches 64 Million". The Express. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Amnesty wrong on accepting conflict migrants". populationmatters.org. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Ramsay, Adam. "The charity which campaigned to ban Syrian refugees from Britain". Opendemocracy.org. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Polly, Toynbee. "If you think people shouldn't have kids if they can't afford them, think again". Guardian.com. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Overshoot Index 2011" (PDF).
The Overshoot Index assesses the extent to which a country can support itself from its own renewable resources, by measuring current per capita consumption against per capita biocapacity. ...
- "Sir David Attenborough backs campaign to limit human population". The Telegraph. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Sir David Attenborough: Humans are a plague". The Express. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Patrons". populationmatters.org/.
- "Attenborough warns on population". bbc.co.uk/.
- "David Attenborough to be patron of Optimum Population Trust, 9th June 2009". www.thetimes.co.uk.
- "Attenborough joins campaign to curb world's population". dailymail.co.uk.
- "Board". www.populationmatters.org. Population Matters. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Team". Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "Members". www.populationmatters.org/. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
||This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (January 2016)|
- Letter to New Scientist from David Willey (Subscription only)
- Guardian article: Citizens arrest
- Independent article: Overpopulation is main threat to planet
- Telegraph article: UK unable to sustain population, says study
- New Statesman article: Planet Overload
- Times article: David Attenborough to be patron of Optimum Population Trust
- Times article: Having large families is an 'eco-crime'
- The InterAcademy Panel Statement on Population Growth
- Faut-il réduire la population mondiale pour sauver la planète ?