Whatever Happened to “ZPG?”

We regularly hear from our members and supporters that they liked our old name—Zero Population Growth (ZPG) better. It felt more descriptive of our mission, was more action-oriented, and more urgent. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, right?

Well, the truth is, what started out as an effective name DID start to seem “broken” after the landmark International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, which put population issues into a different perspective—one more focused on justice, human rights, and voluntarism.

Stabilizing the Population At A Sustainable Level

Many people and institutions started experiencing a negative connotation with our name during that time. People who didn’t have a firm grasp on demographic terms thought Zero Population Growth meant that we were advocating for zero people. Of course, that was never the case—the mission has always been to stabilize the size of the population at a level that will ensure the planet can support people and wildlife for many generations to come.

Still, schools stopped welcoming our Population Education program, the media avoided using us as a helpful resource, and members of Congress were wary of meeting with us and our members because we sounded to them like an extremist group. Basically, the heyday of the ZPG movement that started in the 1960s had ended, and we were finding it more difficult to do our important work with a name that no longer resonated with activists, lawmakers, and educators

The name Population Connection, was officially adopted in 2002. Our mission never changed, and our new name reopened doors for us — we are able to get meetings on Capitol Hill, get our materials into public schools, and engage younger members and supporters who were not alive yet when “ZPG” was a popular rally cry.

A Voice for Population Advocacy

Our mission is to be a powerful voice for population issues, regardless of our name. Population Connection better conveys the full breadth of our education and advocacy work, and makes it easier for our staff, members, and nationwide grassroots activists to be effective advocates for global population stabilization.

We still strive through our education and advocacy to achieve zero population growth, and we’ve found that with the new name we’re better equipped to do that.

Fun fact: The “new name” was actually chosen based on extensive focus group research with our members; in effect, they are the ones who chose the new name. (As an aside, most of the Population Connection staff were hired after the name change; in fact, only four program staff started working here before the name change in 2002. For most of us who work here now, we’ve only known the organization as Population Connection.)

7 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to “ZPG?”

  1. I was a member in the 70’s and 80’s. Then you disappeared. I’m glad you are out there educating again. I think educating people in all countries is good. But advocating abortion in some countries could lead to accusations of racism and genocide.

    I spent years teaching biology in public schools. And advocating for environmental balance which is crucial to understanding our place in Nature. Too many people do not understand that they are a part of Nature. You guys should have the budget that the Mars landing spends–instead of training peoples minds to escape a ruined Earth. Good Luck!

  2. Slowing and eventually reversing the rampant rise of the human population on this planet is the only thing that will keep all life from extinction. This is very, very important. Why are you so silent?

  3. I AM so adamate about this subject…I knwo it is impossible to talk to the general public about this “elephant in the dinning room”. How can people not see this as a problem? Its beyond me. People have replaced a religious belief of God and transfered it to humans…It is quite like the myth about Icarus. Do thy not see the immense inequalities of life that we have caused in the world population? I am just so fed up with the stupidity of the general public and their “god given right ” to have as many babies as they want…no matter the consequences…

  4. I am so saddened by your name change. From a marketing perspective, Population Connection means little. If I didn’t know already it would be ummemorable and confusing.
    Please consider returning to something closer to ZPG with the help of a savvy marketer. This is too important to ignore.

    • Vanessa Weber, thank you & ditto. ‘Population Education’ even sounds better than ‘Population Connection’ (connection to what?) which has absolutely no relevance to anything, let alone the issue of unchecked, unrestrained, limitless human population growth.

    • I think you are correct. Both ZPG (Zero Population Growth) and Population Connection have negatives associated with them. Who ever favored abortion, forced sterilization and other things at your organization caused many of your problems. But at this point we actually need to reduce the world population via less controversial means at our disposal. That is the message that you need to impart. What prompted me to look at this was the shellfish problem in Chesapeake Bay that Rowan Lockwood at William and Mary was studying. Right now the FSA (formerly the USA) has a President who wants to eliminate as many pollution controls as possible. That is yet another battle. But if you asked me what “Population Connection” has to do with stopping the population explosion (which is still what we are having) I would give you a blank stare.

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Since 1968, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth or ZPG) has been America's voice for population stabilization—we are the largest grassroots population organization in the United States! As a 501(c)(3) charity, all donations made to us are tax-deductible.

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