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Ethnicity has been found to be a significant indicator of social position, and many studies have also established that ethnicity is a significant determinant of contraceptive use. This study aims to examine whether ethnicity is an important predictor of unmet need for contraception. Analysis was based on data for 4343 ever-married women drawn from the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey. Descriptive analysis indicates that in all ethnic groups except the Barotse and Tonga, women aged 15–49 years were married at an average age below 18. The highest mean number of children among the ethnic groups was 6.7, among the Bemba; the lowest was 5.9, among the Barotse. The highest proportion of women with an unmet need for contraception resided in the Eastern region. Multivariate logistic analyses reveal that children ever-born and region of residence were the most important predictors of unmet need for spacing, whereas for unmet need for limiting predictors were age at first marriage and partner's desire for children. Moreover, unmet need for spacing and limiting among women with secondary or higher education was significantly lower (47% and 50%, respectively) compared with those with no education. Ethnicity was not a significant predictor of unmet need for contraception. The findings stress the need for programmes aimed at enhancing the socioeconomic status of women.

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Journal of Biosocial Science
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  • EISSN: 1469-7599
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