Sexual and reproductive health

Unmet need for family planning


Unmet need is especially high among groups such as.

  • Adolescents
  • Migrant
  • Urban slum dwellers
  • Refugees
  • Women in the postpartum period
India: Woman walking down street in slum with firewood for cooking on her head
The World Bank/John Isaac

Women with unmet need are those who are fecund and sexually active but are not using any method of contraception, and report not wanting any more children or wanting to delay the next child. The concept of unmet need points to the gap between women's reproductive intentions and their contraceptive behaviour.

For MDG monitoring, unmet need is expressed as a percentage based on women who are married or in a consensual union.

World contraceptive data

  • 2013 update
    The 2013 update presents data on unmet need for family planning for 117 countries and areas covering, to the extent possible, the period 1990 to 2012.
  • MDG database
    The MDG database includes regional and global estimates as well as information about data sources, methods of computation, data availability and other details.

Related indicator