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Sustainable Society:  A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.







Population And The American Future

The Report Of The Commission On Population Growth And The American Future

John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Chairman
March 27, 1972



"Letter of Transmittal"


Commission on Population Growth and the American Future
726 Jackson Place, N. W.
Washington, D. C. 20506

March 27, 1972

To the President and Congress of the United States:

I have the honor to transmit for your consideration the Final Report, containing the findings and recommendations, of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, pursuant to Sec. 8, PL 91-213.

After two years of concentrated effort, we have concluded that, in the long run, no substantial benefits will result from further growth of the Nationís population, rather that the gradual stabilization of our population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to the Nationís ability to solve its problems. We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our country does not depend on it, nor does the vitality of business nor the welfare of the average person.

The recommendations offered by this Commission are directed towards increasing public knowledge of the causes and consequences of population change, facilitating and guiding the processes of population movement, maximizing information about human reproduction and its consequences for the family, and enabling individuals to avoid unwanted fertility.

To these ends we offer this report in the hope that our findings and recommendations will stimulate serious consideration of an issue that is of great consequence to present and future generations.

Respectfully submitted for the Commission,
John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Chairman

The President
The President of the Senate
The Speaker of the House of Representatives

The Commission


John D. Rockefeller 3rd

Vice Chairman
Grace Olivarez
Executive Director, Food for All, Inc.

Vice Chairman
Christian N. Ramsey, Jr., M.D.

President, The Institute for the Study of Health and Society

Joseph D. Beasley, M.D.
The Edward Wisner Professor of Public Health
Tulane University Medical Center

David E. Bell
Executive Vice President, The Ford Foundation

Bernard Berelson
President, The Population Council

Arnita Young Boswell
Associate Field Work Professor
School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

Margaret Bright
Professor, Dept. of Behavioral Sciences and Dept. of Epidemiology
School of Hygiene and Public Health
The Johns Hopkins University

Marilyn Brant Chandler
Housewife, Volunteer, Student

Paul B. Cornely, M.D.
Professor, Dept. of Community Health Practice, College of Medicine
Howard University
Assistant to the Executive Medical Officer
Welfare and Retirement Fund United Mine Workers of America

Alan Cranston
United States Senator

Lawrence A. Davis
President, Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College

Otis Dudley Duncan
Professor of Sociology
University of Michigan

John N. Erlenbom
United States Representative
14th C. District of Illinois

Joan F. Flint
Housewife, Volunteer

R. V. Hansberger
Chairman and President
Boise Cascade Corporation

D. Gale Johnson
Chairman, Department of Economics
University of Chicago

John R. Meyer
President, National Bureau of Economic Research
Professor of Economics, Yale University

Bob Packwood
United States Senator

James S. Rummonds
Stanford School of Law

Stephen L. Salyer
Davidson College

Howard D. Samuel
Vice President, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America

James H. Scheuer
United States Representative
22nd C. District of New York

George D. Woods
Director and Consultant
The First Boston Corporation


This report represents the official views of the Commission, particularly as to the listed recommendations. Clearly, in the case of a Commission with such diverse membership, not every Commissioner subscribes in detail to every suggestion or statement of policy.

Commission Staff


Executive Director
Charles F. Westoff

Deputy Director
Robert Parke, Jr.

Directors of Research
Sara Mills Mazie
Elliott R. Morss
A. E. Keir Nash
Ritchie H. Reed*
Dianne Miller Wolman

Director of Policy Coordination
Carol Tucker Foreman

Assistant to the Chairman
David K. Lelewem

Director of Public Information
Gerald Lipson

General Counsel
Ben C. Fisher

Administrative Officer
Lois A. Brooks

Editorial Coordinator
Carol F. Donnelly

Press Officer
Rochelle Kutcher Green

Lloyd Boucree

Production Coordination
W. S. Pickens

Professional Staff

Gail K. Auslander
Phyllis Coghlan
Florence F. Einhornn
Duane S. Elgin
Dorothy Mann
Susan McIntosh
Steve W. Rawlings 

Special Consultants
Daniel Callahan
Lenora T. Cartnght
Robert F. Drury
Edgar M. Hoover
Frederick S. Jaffe
Peter A. Morrison
Ronald G. Ridker
Norman B. Ryder
Irene B. Taeuber

Support Staff
Marilyn L. Cleek
Mary Ann Ferguson
Mildred G. Herald
Kathryn E. Herron
Mac Arthur C. Jones
Kituria D. Littlejohn
Betty Marshall
Pearl R. Phillips
Diane 0. Sergeant
Judith M. Stock
Mary C. Wilcher

Production Staff
Bea Garcia
Eugenia Harrison
Bea Rodgers
James Sumiel
Margell Yep


Because he deepened our conviction that each individual has a unique contribution to make to the dignity and worth of all mankind, the Commission and staff dedicate this report to the memory of our colleague, staff member, and friend

Ritchie H. Reed


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