Trends in Contraceptive Prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Roles of Family Planning Programs and Education

John Bongaarts , Population Council
Karen Hardee, Population Council

Since the 1990s some countries in Africa have experienced very rapid increases in contraceptive prevalence (e.g. Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda), while others (e.g. Nigeria) have seen little change. This study aims to shed light on the causes of these different trends which remain controversial. We assess the role of family planning programs vs. socioeconomic development (in particular, women’s educational attainment). Estimates of the effects of different explanatory factors are obtained by country level regressions (ordinary least squares and fixed effects) in which the prevalence of modern contraception is the dependent variable and women’s educational attainment, GNI per capita, percent urban and child mortality as well as the family planning program score are the independent variables. Results show that women’s educational attainment and program score are the dominant drivers of contraceptive prevalence trends. We also document the government actions that have been instrumental in raising the family planning program impact since 1990.

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 Presented in Session 229. Contraceptive Behavior in Developing Countries