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Unmet Need – Lack of Access or Lack of Cultural and Informational Support?

July 25, 2007 • Family Planning, Daily Email Recap

This paper is taken from a much longer paper I wrote in the 1990s, with updated data in the table on page 2. It focuses on the fact that non-use of contraception by the 46 percent of the world’s married women who do not use modern contraceptives results primarily not from lack of access to supplies of family planning methods, but instead from cultural and informational barriers to use of existing supplies.

Even though use of family planning has grown from 10 percent of married women in 1960 to 54 percent today, the number of non-users exceeds the number of non-users in 1960 – because of population growth. During this 47-year period, the reason for non-use has shifted from lack of access to attitudinal factors. Clearly, “unmet need” is different from “unmet demand.” The paper makes the point that communication strategies are now central to recruiting additional users of family planning.

Unmet Need Lack of Access or Lack of Information (Word doc., 44 KB)


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