Unmet need for family planning

What is an unmet need for contraception?

An estimated 214 million women in developing countries have an “unmet need” for family planning. These are women of reproductive age, who are sexually active, who wish to avoid pregnancy, but are not using a modern method of contraception. This violates the right of women and men to decide freely the number, spacing, and timing of their children. It contributes to population growth, undermines poverty alleviation, and exacerbates other sustainable development challenges.

The rate of growth of the world’s population in recent decades is unprecedented. The world’s population of around 7.4 billion people today, is projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, and to exceed 10.9 billion by the end of the century. The majority of world population increase is projected to take place in the world’s poorest countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. It is countries with high fertility and high population growth rates which tend to have the highest unmet need for modern contraception.

Fulfilling the unmet need for modern contraception in developing regions, and ensuring pregnant women and their newborns receive essential care, would result in the following declines from current 2017 levels:

  • 67 million fewer unintended pregnancies (a 75% decline)
  • 23 million fewer unplanned births (a 76% decline)
  • 36 million fewer induced abortions (a 74% decline)
  • 2.2 million fewer newborn deaths (an 80% decline)
  • 224,000 fewer maternal deaths (a 73% decline)

To further the Network’s advocacy in this area, the Network, via its coordinator, the Margaret Pyke Trust, is a proud FP2020 Commitment Maker.