Website Featured Project Summer 2020 - Demand for Modern Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Methods, New Evidence


Title: Demand for Modern Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Methods, New Evidence

Principal Investigator

John Casterline

Lazarus Professor in Population Studies, Department of Sociology

Director, Institute for Population Research

Other Investigators:

Samuel Clark, Department of Sociology and IPR

Jason Thomas, IPR

Mobolaji Ibitoye, IPR

Laila El-Zeini, Cairo University

Project Description

The overarching purpose of this project is to explore the reasons for the continuing high desired number of children, and the corresponding weak demand for contraception, in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The extensive body of empirical research of the past few decades lacks rigorous investigation of fertility desires; this includes the major demographic survey programs. Our hypothesis is that evident features of the demand for contraception in this region – limited, ambivalent, fragile – are explained by the complexities and uncertainties surrounding childbearing in many contemporary African societies.  The project has two major and distinct components:  

(i)  Statistical analysis of existing national demographic survey data from Sub-Saharan Africa on fertility desires, unintended fertility, and use of modern contraception.  This analysis employs innovative models and methods and is based at IPR.  Four papers are planned. 

(ii) Intensive investigation of men’s and women’s fertility desires and demand for modern contraception through qualitative interviews to be conducted in multiple sites in Nigeria in collaboration with Akena Associates (Abuja, Nigeria).  Several modalities – focus group discussions, in-depth interviews – will be employed. The design calls for 150+ interviews at four or more sites purposively chosen to achieve diversity in reproductive regimes and in cultural and socioeconomic systems.

Recent Publications 


External Funding 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;  July 2018 - June 2022; $1,471,799