Measuring Progress

Progress on Contraceptive Use and Need


United Nations (UN), Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. New York: UN; 2017.


Women who are currently pregnant or postpartum amenorrheic whose pregnancy/last births were wanted at the time are considered not to be in need. However, pregnant or postpartum amenorrheic women whose pregnancy/last births were wanted later or not at all are considered to have an unmet need.


Fabic MS, Choi Y, Bongaarts J, Darroch JE, Ross JA, Stover J, et al. Meeting demand for family planning within a generation: the post-2015 agenda. Lancet. 2014; 385: 1928–31.

Contraceptive Method Choice


Methods assessed for stock-outs were: female sterilization, male sterilization, IUD, implant, injectable, pill, male condom, female condom, and emergency contraception.


RamaRao S, Lacuesta M, Costello M, Pangolibay B, Jones H. 2003. The link between quality of care and contraceptive use. International Family Planning Perspectives 29(2): 76-83.


World Health Organization (WHO). Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations. Geneva: WHO; 2014. 


“Methods in use” is defined here as methods representing greater than 5% of modern use (>5% of users using). Methods included are: female sterilization, male sterilization, IUD, implant, injectable, pill, male condom, female condom, lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), diaphragm, foam or jelly, standard days method (SDM), and emergency contraception (EC). Note that no country had greater than 5% of users using female condom, diaphragm, foam or jelly, SDM, or EC. “Other modern methods” was excluded as it represents an aggregate of individual methods.


Ross J, Stover J. Use of modern contraception increases when more methods become available: analysis of evidence from 1982–2009. Glob Health Sci Pract. 2013;1(2):203-212.

Special Analysis: Understanding Data on Adolescents and Youth


The convention in the literature is to use “women” rather than “girls” when discussing the data for these age groups, and we have followed that convention here. "Unmarried sexually active” throughout this section refers to women who reported sexual activity within the last month. 


Darroch JE, Woog V, Bankole A, Ashford LS. Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Meeting the Contraceptive Needs of Adolescents in Developing Regions. Fact Sheet. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2018.


Estimate Tables