Skewed Contraceptive Method Mix: Why it Happens, Why it Matters

Contraceptive prevalence has been central to family planning research over the past few decades, but researchers have given surprisingly little consideration to method mix, a proxy for method availability or choice. There is no ‘ideal’ method mix recognized by the international community; however, there may be reason for concern when one or two methods predominate in a given country. In this article method skew is operationally defined as a single method constituting 50% or more of contraceptive use in a given country. Of 96 countries examined in this analysis, 34 have this type of skewed method mix. These 34 countries cluster in three groups: (1) sixteen countries in which traditional methods dominate, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa; (2) four countries in which female sterilization predominates (India, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Panama); and (3) fourteen countries that rely on a single reversible method (the pill in Algeria, Kuwait, Liberia, Morocco, Sudan and Zimbabwe; the IUD in Cuba, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; and the injectable in Malawi).

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