Meeting Demand for Family Planning within a Generation: Prospects and Implications at the Country Level

In order to track progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, a measure (demand for family planning satisfied with modern contraceptive methods) and a benchmark (at least 75% by 2030 in all countries) have been recommended. This study aimed to assess the prospects of reaching the benchmark at the country level.

The study’s authors selected 63 countries based on their status as least developed according to the United Nations or as a priority country in global family planning initiatives. Using United Nations estimates and projections of family planning indicators between 1970 and 2030, the authors calculated percent demand for family planning satisfied with modern contraceptive methods for each year and country. They then calculated the annual percentage point changes between 2014 and 2030 required to meet the benchmark. The required rates of change were compared to current projections as well as estimates between 1970 and 2010.

Findings reveal that to reach the benchmark on average across the 63 countries, demand satisfied with modern methods must increase by 2.2 percentage points per year between 2014 and 2030 – more than double current projections. At currently projected rates, only 9 of the 63 study countries will reach the benchmark. Meanwhile, the gap between projected and required changes is largest in the Central and West African regions.