Pakistan is at a crossroads, and not for the reasons you might think.

Data from the latest Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey show the country has an opportunity to seize an economic boost, but only if it can accelerate fertility decline and women’s empowerment through increased access to voluntary family planning and other strategic investments.

The boost is known as the demographic dividend – the accelerated economic growth that results from changes to a country’s age structure, namely a decrease in the share of young dependents (net consumers), relative to an expanding proportion of working-age adults (net producers). With a relative increase in the working-age population, if educated and productively employed, these changes can usher in better living standards for families, increased production per capita, and higher rates of savings and investment.