Voluntary-Contraception-AoF-4000x1272

Voluntary Contraception Facts & Stats

  • The global rate of unintended pregnancy was 55 per 1,000 women aged 15 through 44 in 2008, of which 26 per 1,000 ended in abortion. The rate of intended pregnancy was 79 per 1,000.
  • Worldwide the proportion of women aged 15 to 49, married or in a union, who were using any method of contraception increased from 55% in 1990 to 64% in 2015. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this proportion more than doubled between 1990 and 2015, from 13% to 28%. In Southern Asia, the proportion increased from 39% to 59% during the same period.
  • Women in Sub-Saharan Africa average 5.2 children, including the high of 7.6 in Niger. The 10 countries worldwide with the highest fertility are all in Sub-Saharan Africa. The United States and Canada have rather low TFRs: Canada at 1.6 and the United States at 1.9.
  • In developing countries about half of sexually active women of reproductive age, or 818 million women, want to avoid pregnancy, meaning that they do not want to become pregnant for at least two years or want to stop childbearing altogether. About 17% of those women, or 140 million, are not using any method of family planning, while 9%, or 75 million, are using less-effective traditional methods. Together, these 215 million women are said to have an unmet need for modern contraception.
    • Reference: Jacqueline E. Darroch, Guilda Sedgh, and Haley Ball, Contraceptive Technologies: Responding to Women’s Needs (New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2011).
  • The proportion of women wanting to avoid pregnancy who had an unmet need for modern methods declined from 29% in 2003 to 26% in 2012. Of the 222 million women in developing countries with an unmet need for modern contraceptive methods, 162 million (73%) lived in the 69 poorest countries. The proportion of women with unmet need decreased in every sub-region between 2003 and 2012, but those proportions remained high in many areas, including middle Africa (81%), western Africa (74%), eastern Africa (54%), western Asia (50%) and south Asia (34%).
  • Around the world, about 222 million women have an unmet need for family planning. According to surveys, one in seven married women has an unmet need for contraception. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the ratio is nearly one in four.
    • Reference: Susheela Singh and Jacqueline Darroch, Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Family Planning Services, Estimates for 2012 (New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2012).
  • In 2015,  64%  of  married  or  in-union  women  of  reproductive  age  worldwide  were  using some form of contraception. However, contraceptive use was much lower in the least developed countries (40%) and was particularly low in Africa (33%).  In other major geographic areas contraceptive use was much higher, ranging from 59% in Oceania to 75% in Northern America.  Within  these  major  areas  there  are  large  differences  by  region  and  across
  • Of the 213 million pregnancies that occurred worldwide in 2012, 40%—about 85 million—were unintended, about the same proportion as in 2008, when 42% of all pregnancies globally were unintended. In 2012, 50% of all unintended pregnancies ended in abortion, 38% in unplanned births, and 13% in miscarriage. Overall, the proportion of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion was higher in developed regions than in developing regions (54% vs. 49%).
  • Millennium Development Goal 5 to improve maternal health brought renewed attention to efforts to reduce maternal deaths and ensure universal access to reproductive health, though progress by 2015 fell short of the targets.
  • Contraceptive care in 2012 will cost $4.0 billion in the developing world. Fully meeting the existing need for modern contraceptive methods among women in the developing world would cost $8.1 billion per year. Current contraceptive use will prevent 218 million unintended pregnancies in developing countries, and, in turn, will avert 55 million unplanned births, 138 million abortions (of which 40 million are unsafe), 25 million miscarriages, and 118,000 maternal deaths. Serving all women in developing countries who currently have an unmet need for modern contraceptive methods would prevent an additional 54 million unintended pregnancies, including 21 million unplanned births, 26 million abortions (of which 16 million would be unsafe) and seven million miscarriages; this would also prevent 79,000 maternal deaths and 1.1 million infant deaths.
  • Worldwide, one in five pregnancies (20%) ends in abortion, and one in 10 pregnancies ends in unsafe abortion. An estimated 358,000 girls and women die from pregnancy-related causes each year, almost all of them in the developing world. About 47,000 of these deaths are due to unsafe abortion. Globally, abortion-related deaths account for 13% percent of all pregnancy-related deaths, but the percentage can be much higher at country levels. A 2000 study estimated that unsafe abortion was responsible for nearly one-third of maternal deaths in West Africa, and the WHO reports that in Sub-Saharan Africa unsafe abortions are responsible for as much as 50% of maternal deaths.
  • Around 80 million pregnancies each year are unintended and more than one-half result in induced abortion. About one-third (26.5 million) of unintended pregnancies each year result from incorrect use or failure of contraceptives.
  • Almost all unsafe abortions take place in developing countries, and this is where 98% of abortion-related deaths occur.
  • Of the estimated 42 million induced abortions each year, nearly 20 million are performed in unsafe conditions and/or by unskilled providers and result in the deaths of an estimated 47,000 girls and women.
  • The proportion of abortions that are performed under unsafe conditions is not currently known. However, complications from unsafe abortions are common in developing regions, where the procedure is often highly restricted. Estimates for 2012 indicate that 6.9 million women in these regions were treated for complications from unsafe abortion, corresponding to a rate of 6.9 women treated per 1,000 women aged 15–44. Recent estimates suggest that some 40% of women who experience complications never receive treatment.
  • During 2010-2014, an estimated 56 million induced abortions occurred each year worldwide. This number represents an increase from 50 million annually during 1990-1994, mainly because of population growth. Women in developing regions have a higher likelihood of having an abortion than their counterparts in developed regions: The abortion rates are 37 abortions per 1,000 women and 27 abortions per 1,000 women, respectively. Globally, 25% of pregnancies ended in abortion in 2010–2014.
    • Reference: Induced Abortion Worldwide, Global Incidence and Trends, Guttmacher, 2016
  • An estimated 6.2 million unsafe abortions are performed each year in Africa, and about 5.5 million of them are in the Sub-Saharan African countries. Africa’s nearly 36,000 unsafe abortion deaths account for more than 50% of the worldwide total. About 25% of Africa’s unsafe abortions occur among young women ages 15 to 19, higher than in any other region.
    • Reference: Population Reference Bureau, World Population Data Sheet, 2011
  • Fourteen percent of all unsafe abortions in low- and middle-income countries are among women aged 15–19 years. About 2.5 million adolescents have unsafe abortions every year, and adolescents are more seriously affected by complications than are older women.
    • Reference: WHO, Adolescent pregnancy, 2014
  • About three in 10 unmarried adolescent women in Sub-Saharan Africa have ever had sex; 15% of unmarried adolescent women in Sub-Saharan Africa are sexually active and want to prevent pregnancy.
    • Reference: Lloyd CB, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries, Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2015
  • The proportion of adolescent women who reported discontinuing their method of contraception while still in need of contraception ranged from 4% in Morocco to 28% in Guatemala. In all countries except Ethiopia, a greater proportion of adolescents than of older women discontinued method use while still in need. Although the DHS data provide little insight into the reasons for this difference, it suggests that younger women face more obstacles to consistent use and perhaps that they are more likely to abandon a method and try another if they experience side effects.
    • Reference: Patterns and Trends in Adolescents’ Contraceptive Use and Discontinuation in Developing Countries and Comparisons With Adult Women, Guttmacher, 2009
  • The average annual ODA disbursed for reproductive health to 18 conflict-affected countries from 2002 to 2011 was US$ 1.93 per person per year. There was an increase of 298% in ODA for reproductive health activities to conflict-affected countries between 2002 and 2011; 56% of this increase was due to increases in HIV/AIDS funding.
    • Reference: Patel P, Dahab M, Tanabe M, Murphy A, Ettema L, Guy S, Roberts B. Tracking official development assistance for reproductive health in conflict-affected countries: 2002—2011. BJOG 2016; DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.13851.
  • The average annual per capita reproductive health ODA disbursed to least-developed non-conflict-affected countries was 57% higher than to least-developed conflict-affected countries.
    • Reference: Patel P, Dahab M, Tanabe M, Murphy A, Ettema L, Guy S, Roberts B. Tracking official development assistance for reproductive health in conflict-affected countries: 2002—2011. BJOG 2016; DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.13851.
  • Despite increases in ODA for reproductive health for conflict-affected countries, albeit largely for HIV/AIDS activities, considerable disparities remain.
    • Reference: Patel P, Dahab M, Tanabe M, Murphy A, Ettema L, Guy S, Roberts B. Tracking official development assistance for reproductive health in conflict-affected countries: 2002—2011. BJOG 2016; DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.13851.
  • In 2012, DRC’s total fertility rate was 6.0 children per woman and contraceptive prevalence in 2008-2012 was 17.3%. According to the latest national survey, about 30% of young married women in the DRC reported having an unmet need for family planning, and 45% of sexually active unmarried women reported having an unmet need. This translates into more than 1,332,000 women—an estimated 934,000 married and 398,000 unmarried women. Between 2007 and 2013, unmet need for contraception among young married women decreased slightly from 32% to 30%. However, among sexually active unmarried women, unmet need increased dramatically from 38% to 45%.
    • References:
    • Congos Statistics, Unicef, 2015
    • Population Reference Bureau (PRB) analysis of data from the DRC DHS 2013, calculated in the manner of Kerry L.D. MacQuarrie, Unmet Need for Family Planning Among Young Women: Levels and Trends (Rockville, MD: ICF International, 2014)
    • PRB analysis of data from the DRC DHS 2013-14
  • A 2002 study of 575 adolescents in a refugee camp in northern Kenya found that 70% were sexually active and engaged in unplanned and unprotected sexual intercourse.
    • Reference: Tadiesse, A. Orago, R. Karega, R. Vivarie, Socio-Cultural Determinants of Pregnancy and the Spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections among Adolescent Residents of Kakuma Refugee Camp, Northern Kenya, 2003.
  • A 2010 survey of conflict-affected areas of eastern Burma showed that the use of modern contraceptives is low, with 21.8% of respondents reporting its use. Among users, Depo-Provera and oral contraceptive pills were the most used, with 12.8% and 7.9% using the methods, respectively.
    • Reference: Back Pack Health Worker Team, Burma Medical Association & the National Health and Education Committee, Diagnosis: Critical health and human rights in eastern Burma, 2010.
  • A 2003 fertility management study of Burmese women refugees living in Thailand showed that two-thirds tried to induce their own abortion through herbal medicines such as “Kathy Pan”, through the insertion of sticks into the vagina, and by pummeling their pelvic areas. In one local Thai public hospital, sterilization was the only family planning method offered along with post-abortion care.
    • Reference: Belton, Kathy Pan, Sticks and Pummeling: Burmese Women’s Methods of Fertility Management, Unpublished abstract presented at the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium Conference Brussels, 2003.
  • Displaced and marginalized populations in Colombia tend to have larger families due to lack of access and awareness regarding family planning.
    • Reference: Women’s Refugee Commission, Unseen Millions: the Catastrophe of Internal Displacement in Colombia, New York, March 2002.