Despite the recent increase in contraceptive prevalence, a quarter of women of reproductive age in Kenya reported unmet need for family planning in 2008/9. Any advances in our understanding of the causes of unmet need could have profound implications for programmes. This study aims to establish the relative importance of lack of access and attitudinal resistance towards use of contraception in different population and geographical strata of Kenya. It is intended to inform policy makers on the priority that should be given to behaviour change communication or improved access/information, and also helpful to interventions to reduce health concerns and fear of side effects, such as provision of broader method mix and better counselling. Data from the Kenya DHS 2008/9 were used for the analysis. All analyses were based on married/cohabiting fecund women who were exposed to risk of pregnancy at the time of the survey. The study identified whether married women with unmet need have access (defined by knowledge of pills and injectables, and a supply source) and attitudinal acceptance (defined by intention to use in the future). In addition, the study assessed variations of unmet need across different strata by bivariate and multivariate analyses. Self reported reasons for unmet need were assessed.