Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Modern contraceptive prevalence: inequality by educational level

Situation

Inequality is shown by women's educational level, reported in 65 low- and middle-income study countries, based on DHS and MICS data, 2005-2011.

Within low- and middle-income countries, less-educated subgroups tended to have a lower prevalence of modern contraceptive use than more-educated subgroups. The median coverage in country subgroups with no education, primary education, and secondary education or higher was 15.5%, 29.2% and 34.4%, respectively.

The prevalence of modern contraceptive methods was higher in middle-income countries than low-income countries. In each education subgroup the median coverage in middle-income countries was greater than the corresponding median coverage in low-income countries. For example, among subgroups with primary education the median prevalence of modern contraceptive methods in middle-income and low-income study countries was 36.6% and 14.3%, respectively.

Low- and middle-income study countries from WHO African and European Regions tended to report the lowest modern contraceptive methods coverage, compared with study countries from other WHO regions. In WHO African Region study countries, the median coverage among subgroups with no education, primary education, and secondary education or higher was 7.4%, 12.7% and 28.9%, respectively; in WHO European Region study countries, median coverage was 4.6%, 7.0% and 14.3%, respectively.

Important considerations when interpreting the results:

  • The data were taken from surveys which were not conducted in the same year in all countries. Data reflect the situation in a country at the time of the survey which, naturally, is subject to change.
  • Estimates are subject to sample variability, typically indicated by confidence intervals. For the sake of readability, only point estimates are shown.

Trends

Changes in inequality are shown by women's educational level, reported in 27 low- and middle-income study countries, based on DHS and MICS data, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010.

Between 2001-2005 and 2006-2010, the prevalence of modern contraceptive methods tended to increase among non-educated women and those with primary education. The median prevalence increased from 11.7% to 27.1% among non-educated women and from 28.0% to 35.6% among women with primary education during this period. However, study countries reported mixed patterns of change among women with secondary education or higher. The median prevalence of modern contraceptive methods among the most educated women remained about the same (42.7% in 2001-2005 and 42.4% in 2006-2010).

Important considerations when interpreting the results:

  • For trends, the period between two sequential surveys in each country is, on average, five years; however, this period may be shorter or longer in some countries.
  • Estimates are subject to sample variability, typically indicated by confidence intervals. For the sake of readability, only point estimates are shown.
Share