The study evaluated data on 194 countries from the United Nations Population Division database between 1990 and 2010. Overall, the contraceptive use among women of reproductive age increased from 54.8% in 1990 to 63.3% in 2010. Additionally, the unmet need for contraception decreased from 15.4% in 1990 to 12.3% in 2010. Unmet need was defined as women who would like to delay getting pregnant, but were unable to access contraceptive methods.
Based on the prevalent trends, the researchers predict that the need for contraception will rise from 900 million in 2010 to 962 million in 2015.
"Our findings support calls to increase investments in family planning, especially in regions where contraceptive prevalence is still low, unmet need is high, and the growth in the number of women of reproductive age is rapid," the authors wrote in their report published online on March 12 in the Lancet.