This study examines trends and differentials in key family planning indicators in 35 developing countries. The data are for countries with a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted between 2000 and 2005. Trends are provided for countries with at least one previous DHS survey.
The study investigates how knowledge of contraception and use of contraception have changed; whether public-private, urban-rural, and other differentials in contraceptive use have narrowed, and whether women are making informed decisions about the use of contraception. It also examines discontinuation and switching rates, and decisionmaking about family planning.
Results indicate that knowledge of contraception is almost universal in most countries, yet knowledge of multiple methods of contraception remains considerably lower, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In most countries, a substantial proportion of women are not informed about other methods of contraception or about the potential side effects of their chosen method. Contraceptive discontinuation rates are high, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of current users in most countries have switched methods, irrespective of region.