Characteristics of Women Who Lack Contraceptive Knowledge in Sub-Saharan Africa

Meredith Cavin, University of Minnesota

My research will use the Minnesota Population Center's Integrated Demographic and Health Series (IDHS) data to examine the characteristics of women who do not know about contraceptives in seven Sub-Saharan African countries. Preliminary research shows great variation in contraceptive knowledge across African countries: 35.34% of married women in Nigeria had heard of no contraceptive method (in 2008), compared to only 0.60% in Zimbabwe (in 2010-11). It also reveals a lack of contraceptive knowledge among married women who wish to limit their fertility, most notably in Nigeria and Mali. In Nigeria in 2008, 20.66% of married women who did not want another child had never heard of any contraceptive method, which suggests an unmet need for family planning. I will explore the characteristics of these women, who may have a "latent demand" for contraceptives rather than a demonstrably active demand (Freedman 1997).

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 Presented in Session P9. Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health