Unmet Need among Young Women: A Global Comparison of Levels, Trends, and Components

Kerry MacQuarrie, University of Washington

Young women may disproportionately experience unmet need for family planning due to fertility preferences characteristic of this stage of life course, lack of access to services, or where programs underestimate their needs. This paper describes current levels of unmet need for family planning among women age 15-24 as well as trends in unmet need among youth using DHS data from 142 surveys in 61 countries. Estimates are made for married and unmarried, sexually active women. It offers an examination of unmet need by two-year age gradients and compares young women age 15-24 with women age 25 and older. It also presents bivariate analysis of the socio-demographic factors associated with unmet need (residence, wealth, education, and parity). Finally, it explores the components of unmet need among young women, namely exposure to risk of pregnancy through marriage or non-marital sexual activity, fertility preferences, and use or non-use of contraception.

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Presented in Session 146: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health