Trends in the demand for family limitation in developing countries

Type Journal Article - International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Title Trends in the demand for family limitation in developing countries
Volume 26
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2000
Page numbers 56-62
Context: While most developing countries have at least begun the transition from high to low fertility, the process has occurred at very different rates in various regions. The pattern of change
in Sub-Saharan Africa differs from that of other regions, a factor that has implications for family planning programs there. Methods: Data from 108 Demographic and Health Surveys, World Fertility Surveys and Contraceptive Prevalence Surveys were assembled for 41 developing countries, covering the period extending from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
Results: The percentage of women who want no more children has risen slowly but steadily in Sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s, having reached a level of 20–40% in many countries by the late 1990s. Yet overall levels remain far below those seen in Asia and in North Africa, where the level of demand for limiting births clusters in the 40–60% range. The proportion of women wanting to stop childbearing is also high in Latin America, and shows more evidence of leveling off than in Asia. Unmet need for the means to limit births is increasing fairly uniformly for most Sub-Saharan African countries; in contrast, in Asia and North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean,it is generally declining with the adoption of contraceptive use. While the evidence indicates that most women in Sub-Saharan Africa who practice contraception do so to space rather than to limit births, trend data suggest that the proportion of users practicing contraception to limit births has been increasing in recent years; in some countries, this proportion approaches half of all method use, and is higher than expected elsewhere. In contrast, there has been little change in this balance in Asia and North Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the great majority of users in both regions seeking to limit rather than space births.
Conclusions: While demand for contraception is increasing throughout the developing world,most of the demand in Asia and North Africa and in Latin America is already being met, while much of the demand in Sub-Saharan Africa is not. In both Asia and Latin America, where contraceptive use is already high, providers need to gear their services toward helping clients to continue use and to improve the effectiveness of their contraceptive practice. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where use is low, programs must aim to encourage adoption of modern methods

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