The Lancet analyzes contraceptive prelalence and unmet need

March 26, 2013 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Daily Email Recap

The Lancet recently published a comprehensive report titled “National, regional, and global rates and trends in contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning between 1990 and 2015: a systematic and comprehensive analysis” We recommend reading the full report by clicking through to:

Below is a short essay written by Kaja Jurczynska, writing for Population Action International, which provides for an introduction to the full study.

By the numbers: Any way you slice it, women need contraception
By Kaja Jurczynska


Last week, a new study out of The Lancet projected that in 2015, 233 million married or in-union women worldwide will have an unmet need for modern family planning.

The bad news: that’s 12 million more women globally since 2010 who want to prevent pregnancy but lack contraception. In fact, without accelerated access to modern methods, the number of women with unmet need in the poorest countries may grow further.

Unmet need itself is nothing new—in 2012, the Guttmacher Institute’s Adding It Up found that 222 million married and unmarried sexually active women in the developing world had an unmet need for modern contraception. Why the difference?

  • Different time periods: The Lancet draws on existing surveys for model-based estimates and short-term projections for the entire period 1990-2015, while Adding It Up drew on recent survey data to project contraceptive use and unmet need to 2012;
  • Different women: The Lancet figures—captured in more detail in the United Nations Population Division’s World Contraceptive Use 2012 update—currently only pertain to married or in-union women whereas Adding It Up captures the needs of both married and unmarried sexually active women; and
  • Different areas: Adding It Up pertains to women in the developing world while The Lancet publication highlights the needs of women globally.

The approaches may not match, but their message is the same:  despite increases in contraceptive prevalence, too many women (hundreds of millions of them!) want to prevent pregnancy but lack access to family planning.

To read the full blog post, please click here:



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