THE ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION ON POPULATION GROWTH
PART 1 of this chapter is the verbatim text of President
Nixon's remarks when he signed the bill in 1970 creating the
commission, and announced that John D. Rockefeller 3rd had
accepted the commission's chairmanship.
PART 2 is the complete text of the commission's
recommendations, submitted to the President in 1972.
March 16, 1970. Remarks of President Nixon on Signing Bill
Establishing the Commission on Population Growth and the American
Ladies and gentlemen:
We have asked you into this room because the Cabinet Room is
presently being redecorated. The purpose is to sign the
population message. I shall sign the message and then make a
brief statement with regard to it.
First, this message is bipartisan in character as is indicated by
the Senators and Congressmen who are standing here today. This
is the first message on population ever submitted to the Congress
and passed by the Congress. It is time for such a message to be
submitted and also the time to set up a Population Commission
such as this does.
Let me indicate very briefly some of the principles behind this
First, it will study both the situation with regard to population
growth in the United States and worldwide.
Second, it does not approach the problem from the standpoint of
making an arbitrary decision that population will be a certain
number and will stop there. It approaches the problem in terms
of trying to find out what we can expect in the way of population
growth, where that population will move, and then how we can
properly deal with it.
It also, of course, deals with the problem of excessive
population in areas, both in nations and in parts of nations,
where there simply are not the resources to sustain an adequate
I would also add that the Congress, particularly the House of
Representatives, I think, contributed very much to this message
by adding amendments indicating that the Population Commission
should study the problems of the environment as they are affected
by population, and also that the Population Commission should
take into account the ethical considerations that we all know are
involved in a question as sensitive as this.
I believe this is an historic occasion. It has been made
historic not simply by the act of the President in signing this
measure, but by the fact that it has had bipartisan support and
also such broad support in the nation.
An indication of that broad support is that John D. Rockefeller
has agreed to serve as Chairman of the Commission. The other
members of the Commission will be announced at a later time. Of
all the people in this nation, I think I could say of all the
people in the world, there is perhaps no man who has been more
closely identified and longer identified with this problem than
John Rockefeller. We are very fortunate to have his chairmanship
of the Commission; and we know that the report that he will give,
the recommendations that he will make, will be tremendously
significant as we deal with this highly explosive problem,
explosive in every way, as we enter the last third of the 20th
And I again congratulate the Members of the House and Senate for
their bipartisan support. I wish the members of the Commission
And as usual we have pens for all the Members of Congress who
participated in making this bill possible and for the members of
the staff who are present here.
NOTE: The President spoke at 10:16 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at
the White House.
A White House release of March 16, 1970, announcing the signing
of the bill and the appointment of John D. Rockefeller 3rd is
printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol.
6, p. 734).
As enacted, the bill (S. 2701) is Public Law 91-213 (84 Stat.
Compilation of Recommendations of The Commission on Population
Growth and the American Future
POPULATION EDUCATION - Index
In view of the important role that education can play in
developing an understanding of the causes and consequences of
population growth and distribution, the Commission recommends
enactment of a Population Education Act to assist school systems
in establishing well-planned population education programs so
that present and future generations will be better prepared to
meet the challenges arising from population change.
To implement such a program, the Commission recommends that
federal funds be appropriated for teacher training, for
curriculum development and materials preparation, for research
and evaluation, for the support of model programs, and for
assisting state departments of education to develop competence
and leadership in population education.
SEX EDUCATION - Index
Recognizing the importance of human sexuality, the Commission
recommends that sex education be available to all, and that it be
presented in a responsible manner through community
organizations, the media, and especially the schools.
CHILD CARE - Index
The Commission recommends that both public and private forces
join together to assure that adequate child-care services,
including health, nutritional, and educational components, are
available to families who wish to make use of them.
Because child-care programs represent a major innovation in
child-rearing in this country, we recommend that continuing
research and evaluation be undertaken to determine the benefits
and costs to children, parents, and the public of alternative
CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK - Index
The Commission recommends that all children, regardless of the
circumstances of their birth, be accorded fair and equal status
socially, morally, and legally.
The Commission urges research and study by the American Bar
Association, the American Law Institute, and other interested
groups leading to revision of those laws and practices which
result in discrimination against out-of-wedlock children. Our
end objective should be to accord fair and equal treatment to all
ADOPTION - Index
The Commission recommends changes in attitudes and practices to
encourage adoption thereby benefiting children, prospective
parents, and society. To implement this goal, the Commission
Further subsidization of families qualified to adopt, but unable
to assume the full financial cost of a child's care.
A review of current laws, practices, procedures, and regulations
which govern the adoptive process.
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN - Index
The Commission recommends that the Congress and the states
approve the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and that federal,
state, and local governments undertake positive programs to
ensure freedom from discrimination based on sex.
CONTRACEPTION AND THE LAW - Index
The Commission recommends that: (1) states eliminate existing
legal inhibitions and restrictions on access to contraceptive
information, procedures, and supplies; and (2) states develop
statutes affirming the desirability that all persons have ready
and practicable access to contraceptive information, procedures,
CONTRACEPTION AND MINORS - Index
The Commission recommends that states adopt affirmative
legislation which will permit minors to receive contraceptive and
prophylactic information and services in appropriate settings
sensitive to their needs and concerns.
To implement this policy, the commission urges that
organizations, such as the Council on State governments, the
American Law Institute, and the American Bar Association,
formulate appropriate model statutes.
VOLUNTARY STERILIZATION - Index
In order to permit freedom of choice, the Commission recommends
that all administration restrictions on access to voluntary
contraceptive sterilization be eliminated so that the decision be
made solely by physician and patient.
To implement this policy, we recommend that national hospital and
medical associations, and their state chapters, promote the
removal of existing restrictions.
ABORTION - Index
With the admonition that abortion not be considered a primary
means of fertility control, the Commission recommends that
present state laws restricting abortion be liberalized along the
lines of the New York statute, such abortion to be performed on
request by duly licensed physicians under conditions of medical
safety. In carrying out this policy, the Commission recommends:
That federal, state, and local governments make funds available
to support abortion services in states with liberalized statutes.
That abortion be specifically included in comprehensive health
insurance benefits, both public and private.
METHODS OF FERTILITY CONTROL - Index
The Commission recommends that this nation give the highest
priority to research on reproductive biology and to the search
for improved methods by which individuals can control their own
In order to carry out this research, the Commission recommends
that the full $93 million authorized for this purpose in fiscal
year 1973 be appropriated and allocated; that federal
expenditures for these purposes rise to a minimum of $150 million
by 1975; and that private organizations continue and expand their
work in this field.
FERTILITY-RELATED HEALTH SERVICES - Index
The Commission recommends a national policy and voluntary program
to reduce unwanted fertility, to improve the outcome of
pregnancy, and to improve the health of children.
In order to carry out such a program, public and private health
financing mechanisms should begin paying the full cost of all
health services related to fertility, including contraceptive,
prenatal, delivery, and postpartum services; pediatric care for
the first year of life; voluntary sterilization; safe termination
of unwanted pregnancy; and medical treatment of infertility.
PERSONNEL TRAINING AND DELIVERY OF SERVICES - Index
We recommend creation of programs to (1) train doctors, nurses,
and paraprofessionals, including indigenous personnel, in the
provision of all fertility-related health services; (2) develop
new patterns for the utilization of professional and
paraprofessional personnel; and (3) evaluate improved methods of
organizing the delivery of these services.
FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES - Index
The Commission recommends: (1) new legislation extending the
current family planning project grant program for five years
beyond fiscal year 1973 and providing additional authorizations
to reach a federal funding level of $225 million in fiscal year
1973, $275 million in fiscal year 1974, $325 million in fiscal
year 1975, and $400 million thereafter; (2) extension of the
family planning project grant authority of Title V of the Social
Security Act beyond 1972, and maintenance of the level of funding
at approximately $30 million annually; and (3) maintenance of the
Title II OEO program at current levels of authorization.
SERVICES FOR TEENAGERS - Index
Toward the goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies and childbearing
among the young, the Commission recommends that birth control
information and services be made available to teenagers in
appropriate facilities sensitive to their needs and concerns.
The Commission recommends the development and implementation of
an adequately financed program to develop appropriate family
planning materials, to conduct training courses for teachers and
school administrators, and to assist states and local communities
in integrating information about family planning into school
courses such as hygiene and sex education.
POPULATION STABILIZATION - Index
Recognizing that our population cannot grow indefinitely, and
appreciating the advantages of moving now toward the
stabilization of population, the Commission recommends that the
nation welcome and plan for a stabilized population.
ILLEGAL ALIENS - Index
The Commission recommends that Congress immediately consider the
serious situation of illegal immigration and pass legislation
which will impose civil and criminal sanctions on employers of
illegal border-crossers or aliens in an immigration status in
which employment is not authorized.
To implement this policy, the Commission recommends provision of
increased and strengthened resources consistent with an effective
enforcement program in appropriate agencies.
IMMIGRATION - Index
The Commission recommends that immigration levels not be
increased and that immigration policy be reviewed periodically to
reflect demographic conditions and considerations.
To implement this policy, that Congress require the Bureau of the
Census, in coordination with the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, to report biennially to the Congress on the impact of
immigration on the nation's demographic situation.
NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION AND MIGRATION POLICIES - Index
The Commission recommends that:
The federal government develop a set of national population
distribution guidelines to serve as a framework for regional,
state, and local plans and development.
Regional, state, and metropolitan-wide governmental authorities
take the initiative, in cooperation with local governments, to
conduct needed comprehensive planning and action programs to
achieve a higher quality of urban development.
The process of population movement be eased and guided in order
to improve access of opportunities now restricted by physical
remoteness, immobility, and inadequate skills, information and
Action be taken to increase freedom in choice of residential
location through the elimination of current patterns of racial
and economic segregation and their attendant injustices.
GUIDING URBAN EXPANSION - Index
To anticipate and guide future urban growth, the Commission
recommends comprehensive land-use and public-facility planning on
an overall metropolitan and regional scale, and that governments
exercise greater control over land-use planning and development.
RACIAL MINORITIES AND THE POOR - Index
To help dissolve the territorial basis of racial polarization,
the Commission recommends vigorous and concerted steps to promote
free choice of housing within metropolitan areas.
To remove the occupational sources of racial polarization, the
Commission recommends the development of more extensive human
capital programs to equip black and other deprived minorities for
fuller participation in economic life.
To reduce restrictions on the entry of low- and moderate-income
people to the suburbs, that federal and state governments ensure
provision of more suburban housing for low- and moderate-income
To promote a more racially and economically integrated society,
that actions be taken to reduce the dependence of local
jurisdictions on locally collected property taxes.
DEPRESSED RURAL AREAS - Index
To improve the quality and mobility potential of individuals,
that future programs for declining and chronically depressed
rural areas emphasize human resource development.
To enhance the effectiveness of migration, the Commission
recommends that programs be developed to provide
worker-relocation counseling and assistance to enable an
individual to relocate with a minimum of risk and disruption.
To promote the expansion of job opportunities in urban places
located within or near declining areas and having a demonstrated
potential for future growth, the Commission recommends the
development of a growth center strategy.
INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSES - Index
The Commission recommends the establishment of state or regional
development corporations which would have the responsibility and
the necessary powers to implement comprehensive development plans
either as a developer itself or as a catalyst for private
POPULATION STATISTICS AND RESEARCH - Index
The Commission recommends that the federal government move
promptly and boldly to strengthen the basic statistics and
research upon which all sound demographic, social, and economic
policy must ultimately depend, by implementing the following
specific improvements in these programs.
VITAL STATISTICS DATA - Index
The Commission recommends that the National Center for Health
Statistics improve the timeliness and the quality of data
collected with respect to birth, death, marriage, and divorce.
ENUMERATION OF SPECIAL GROUPS - Index
The Commission recommends that the federal government support,
even more strongly, the Census Bureau's efforts to improve the
completeness of our census enumeration, especially of minority
groups, ghetto populations, and all unattached adults, especially
males, who are the least well counted.
INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION - Index
The Commission recommends that a task force be designated under
the leadership of the Office of Management and Budget to devise a
program for the development of comprehensive immigration and
emigration statistics, and to recommend ways in which the records
of the periodic alien registrations should be processed to
provide information on the distribution and characteristics of
aliens in the United States.
THE CURRENT POPULATION SURVEY - Index
The Committee recommends that the government provide substantial
additional support to the Current Population Survey to improve
the area identification of those interviewed and to permit
special studies, utilizing enlarged samples, of demographic
trends in special groups of the population.
STATISTICAL REPORTING OF FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES - Index
The Commission recommends the rapid development of comprehensive
statistics on family planning services.
NATIONAL SURVEY OF FAMILY GROWTH - Index
The Commission recommends program support and continued adequate
financial support for the Family Growth Survey as almost the
first condition for evaluating the effectiveness of national
population policies and programs.
DISTRIBUTION OF GOVERNMENT DATA - Index
The Commission recommends that the various statistical agencies
seek to maximize the public usefulness of the basic data by
making identity-free tapes available to responsible research
MID-DECADE CENSUS - Index
The Commission recommends that the decennial census be
supplemented by a mid-decade census of the population.
STATISTICAL USE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS - Index
The Commission recommends that the government give high priority
to studying the ways in which federal administrative records,
notably those of the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security
Administration, could be made more useful for developing
statistical estimates of local population and internal migration.
INTERCENSAL POPULATION ESTIMATES - Index
The Commission recommends that the government provide increased
funding, higher priority, and accelerated development for all
phases of the Census Bureau's program for developing
improved intercensal population estimates for states and
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL RESEARCH - Index
The Commission recommends that substantial increases in federal
funds be made available for social and behavioral research
related to population growth and distribution, and for the
support of nongovernmental population research centers.
RESEARCH PROGRAM IN POPULATION DISTRIBUTION - Index
The Commission recommends that a research program in population
distribution be established, preferably within the proposed
Department of Community Development, funded by a small percentage
assessment on funds appropriated for relevant federal programs.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT POPULATION RESEARCH - Index
The Commission recommends that the federal government foster the
"in-house" research capabilities of its own agencies to provide a
coherent institutional structure for improving population
SUPPORT FOR PROFESSIONAL TRAINING - Index
The Commission recommends that support for training in the social
and behavioral aspects of population be exempted from the general
freeze on training funds, permitting government agencies to
support programs to train scientists specializing in this field.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES - Index
The Commission recommends that organizational changes be
undertaken to improve the federal government's capacity to
develop and implement population-related programs; and to
evaluate the interaction between public policies, programs, and
OFFICE OF POPULATION AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE - Index
The Commission recommends that the capacity of the Department of
Health, Education and Welfare in the population field be
substantially increased by strengthening the Office of Population
Affairs and expanding its staff in order to augment its role of
leadership within the Department.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF POPULATION SCIENCES - Index
The Commission recommends the establishment, within the National
Institutes of Health, of a National Institute of Population
Sciences to provide an adequate institutional frame work for
implementing a greatly expanded program of population research.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - Index
The Commission recommends that Congress adopt legislation to
establish a Department of Community Development and that this
Department undertake a program of research on the interactions of
population growth and distribution and the programs it
OFFICE OF POPULATION GROWTH AND DISTRIBUTION - Index
The Commission recommends the creation of an Office of Population
Growth and Distribution within the Executive Office of the
The Commission recommends the immediate addition of personnel
with demographic expertise to the staffs of the Council of
Economic Advisers, the Domestic Council, the Council on
Environmental Quality, and the Office of Science and Technology.
COUNCIL OF SOCIAL ADVISERS - Index
The Commission recommends that Congress approve pending
legislation establishing a Council of Social Advisers and that
this Council have as one of its main functions the monitoring of
JOINT COMMITTEE ON POPULATION - Index
In order to provide legislative oversight of population issues,
the Commission recommends that Congress assign to a joint
committee responsibility for specific review of this area.
STATE POPULATION AGENCIES AND COMMISSIONS - Index
The Commission recommends that state governments, either through
existing planning agencies or through new agencies devoted to
this purpose, give greater attention to the problems of
population growth and distribution.
PRIVATE EFFORTS AND POPULATION POLICY - Index
The Commission recommends that a substantially greater effort
focusing on policy-oriented research and analysis of population
in the United States be carried forward through appropriate
private resources and agencies.