New estimates of unmet need and the demand for family planning

This report is an update of estimates of unmet need for family planning that have been part of the ongoing DHS comparative analyses. The emphasis is on trends in unmet need and the demand for family planning in 58 developing countries. In addition to the standard measure, estimates of the unmet need for modern methods have also been included. The important finding is that the proportion of women with unmet need has declined in most countries except in sub-Saharan Africa where little change is apparent in 15 of the 23 countries with available trend data. Moreover, in the least developed countries, there are significant proportions of married women who are in need and have never used contraception, and who say that they do not intend to use any method. The proportion in this category has declined in many countries but remains a serious challenge in others. The proportion of the total demand for family planning that has been satisfied ranges from 11 percent in Chad to 94 percent in Vietnam. In sub-Saharan Africa, an average of 43 percent of demand for all methods is satisfied, while in the other regions the average is 77 percent. The total demand satisfied for modern methods ranges from 6 percent in Chad to 82 percent in Brazil. In this report unmet need among unmarried women has been inferred from the use of contraception by unmarried, sexually active women age 15-49. It is clear that, over time, more unmarried women are using a contraceptive method. The significance of reducing unmet need for the fertility rate was estimated in terms of the potential distance to replacement fertility that would be realized. This ranges from 28 percent in West Africa to 100 percent in the Latin America/Caribbean region.

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