Ethiopia currently has a population of around 65 million, half of whom are female. Women of reproductive age (15-49) constitute 44% of the total female population. Together with the high level of fertility and a low level of contraceptive use, this suggests that the population will continue to grow at a fast pace for at least another generation.
This high rate of population growth has negatively impacted the economic development of the country. The population is predominantly rural, with only 15 % residing in urban areas. More than 95% of the rural population are involved in agriculture. Food shortages are common because most of the farming depends on the infrequent rains, and the soil fertility is poor because of continuous plowing.
The 2000 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) reported that the total fertility rate in the country stands at 5.9, which is among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Of currently married women, 14% have never heard of family planning, while only 17 % have ever used a method. Current use of family planning is very low and stands at 8% among the same group of women.
It is necessary to identify the reasons for such a high unmet need and present program options that meet the need for family planning. Therefore, the in-depth analysis of the DHS data on the evaluation of program options to meet unmet need for family planning will provide critical information that can be used to develop programs and strategies.