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Age Patterns of Contraceptive Use and Needs: A Global Comparison

Vladimira Kantorova, United Nations
Mark Wheldon, United Nations Population Division
Philipp Ueffing, United Nations Population Division
Aisha Dasgupta, UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office

Contraceptive use and needs vary by age because women’s fertility intentions, fecundity, sexual activity, marriage and union patterns change through the life-course. Contraceptive use has increased in many countries over time and we study if this increase occurred evenly across all age groups or was concentrated in specific age groups. We produce age-specific estimates and projections from 1990 to 2030 for all five-year reproductive age groups using Bayesian hierarchical models and global survey data compilation (World Contraceptive Use) to show the extent of the need for and the use of family planning by age. Contraceptive prevalence by age varies considerably across countries, but it is generally highest among women aged 30 to 39 years. It is generally lowest among adolescent women (aged 15-19 years) and this age group also shows the lowest proportion of the need for family planning satisfied by modern methods compared to other age groups. Among unmarried women, the proportion of women using contraception or having a need for family planning varies greatly across countries and is related to levels of sexual activity among unmarried women. We suggest that the age-specific determinants of prevalence are numerous and diverse, including most common methods used or fertility intentions.

Keywords: Bayesian methods / estimation, Cross-country comparative analyses, Family planning and contraception, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

See paper.

  Presented in Session 117. Global and Macro-level analysis of Contraceptive use Data