World Contraception Day

26 September 2018

26 September is observed by the international community as World Contraception Day. The right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children was asserted at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, and is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under target 3.7. “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes”.

As part of its contribution to monitoring of progress on internationally-agreed targets, the Population Division produces datasets that inform the global monitoring of the progress on commitments made by the Member States on reproductive health. The datasets are used for the global monitoring of the indicator 3.7.1. “Proportion of women of reproductive age (aged 15–49 years) who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods”.

Key results from the analysis of these datasets are:

  1. Globally, among women of reproductive age who are married or in a union, the proportion whose need for family planning is satisfied with modern contraceptive methods increased from 75 per cent in 2000 to 77 per cent in 2018.
  2. Progress has been especially significant in the least developed countries, where this proportion increased from 39 per cent in 2000 to 59 per cent in 2018.
  3. Nevertheless, in 2018, there remain 45 countries, including 27 in sub-Saharan Africa, where less than half of the existing need for family planning is satisfied with modern methods.

The evidence presented in these data sets supports recent calls to increase investments in family planning, especially in the regions of the world where contraceptive prevalence and the demand for family planning satisfied by modern methods are still low, and the number of women of reproductive age is increasing rapidly.