Estimation of contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning in Africa and worldwide, 1970-2015
Leontine Alkema, National University of Singapore
Ann E. Biddlecom, United Nations Population Division
Vladimira Kantorova, United Nations Population Division
Trends in contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning are important to measure because they indicate the degree to which women and their partners are able to prevent unintended pregnancy. Yet many countries have limited data over time, even given broad survey programmes like DHS and MICS. This paper develops a Bayesian hierarchical model of contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning to generate estimates and short-term projections of these outcomes from 1970 to 2015 for women who are married or in a union and to produce bounds of uncertainty around these estimates. The model is based on four levels of hierarchy—country, sub-region, region and world—to capitalize on the full set of available data points and enable data from neighbouring countries to inform national trends. Country-specific and sub-regional trends in Africa are highlighted as well as differences in the estimated pace of change in these outcomes.