Summary

(November 2013) Contraceptive use varies widely around the world, both in terms of total use and the types of methods used. Worldwide, 63 percent of married women ages 15 to 49 use a method of family planning; 57 percent use a modern method. While most women in more developed countries use contraception, in many of the poorest countries, fewer than one in five married women use a modern method.

PRB's Family Planning Worldwide 2013 Data Sheet provides the latest estimates of births per woman and other indicators for 150 countries, including the percentage of women using modern and traditional family planning methods, unmet need for family planning, and use of modern contraception by wealth group.

Highlights From the Family Planning Worldwide 2013 Data Sheet

Women’s Decisionmaking Relates to Contraceptive Use.
Women who have a role in household and family decisions, such as making major purchases, managing their own health care, or visits to relatives, also exercise greater control over their own lives and surroundings. Modern contraceptive use increases with the number of decisions women make, either alone or jointly with their husbands.

Educated Men More Open to Women's Decisionmaking on the Number of Children.
In some countries, men feel strongly that women should have an equal or greater say in the number of children the couple will have. Husbands with higher levels of education are more likely to feel that decisions about family size should be made together with wives. Joint decisionmaking among couples, especially on family planning use, is a critical component in reaching desired family size.

Data Show Uneven Progress in Modern Contraceptive Use.
Modern contraceptive use has risen steadily over time in most developing countries, as is the case in Colombia and Bangladesh. However, use of family planning has remained stable or even declined in others, such as Jordan and Nepal.

Women in Developing Countries Generally Have More Children Than They Desire.
In most developing countries, women generally have more children than they desire. In Senegal and Ethiopia, for example, women have, on average, about two more children than their ideal number. The smaller the gap between wanted and actual fertility shows that couples have been successful in achieving their reproductive intentions. In Burkina Faso and other West African countries, women still desire large families.

Demand for Family Planning Is High Among Young Unmarried Women.
Contraceptive use and total demand for contraception is generally higher among young unmarried women. In some countries, such as Haiti and Mozambique, almost half of sexually active, unmarried women ages 15 to 19 have an unmet need for family planning. Meeting the family planning needs of young unmarried women can be particularly challenging given the stigma many face when accessing reproductive health services.

Side Effects and Health Concerns Are Common Reasons for Discontinuing Injectables.
A key concern for family planning programs is the rate at which couples stop using their methods, and the reasons for stopping. Common reasons for discontinuing use of injectables, for example, are side effects and health concerns. Relatively high rates of discontinuation, as in Honduras and Bangladesh, indicate that family planning programs should focus greater attention on counseling and follow-up to help women deal with the various obstacles to continued use.