UNMETNEED (V624) is a constructed variable that reports a woman's need for family planning according to whether she has an unmet need or a met need to space or to limit her future births.
When children are chosen as the unit of analysis, the woman respondent indicates the mother of the child.
The following describes the constructed categories in more detail:
Unmet need for spacing includes pregnant women whose pregnancy was mistimed, postpartum amenorrheic women whose last birth was mistimed, and fecund women who are neither pregnant nor postpartum amenorrheic and who are not using any method of family planning and say they want to wait two or more years for their next birth, are undecided about the timing of the next birth, or are undecided whether to have another child.
Unmet need for limiting includes pregnant women whose pregnancy was unwanted, postpartum amenorrheic women whose last birth was unwanted, and fecund women who are neither pregnant nor postpartum amenorrheic and who are not using any method of family planning and who want no more children.
Met need for spacing includes women who are using some method of family planning and say they want to have another child, are undecided about the timing of the next birth, or are undecided whether to have another child.
Met need for limiting includes women who are using family planning and who want no more children.
Note that the specific methods (modern or traditional) are not taken into account here.
Met need describes women who have no need for contraceptive methods, either because they desire a child soon (within the next two years) or because they are menopausal or infecund.
In high contraceptive prevalence countries (Model "A" countries), pregnant and postpartum amenorrheic women whose pregnancy was the result of a contraceptive failure are not included in the category of unmet need, but they are categorized as spacing failures or limiting failures. In low contraceptive prevalence countries (Model "B" countries), no such distinction is made, since information was not collected on contraceptive failure. Infecund women are also excluded from the unmet need categories.
The "Online Guide to DHS Statistics" provides the following definitions:
Fecundity: A woman is assumed to be fecund unless she declares that she is infecund, had a hysterectomy, or is menopausic. Women who are neither pregnant nor postpartum amenorrheic but who have not menstruated for six or more months, and married women who have not used contraception in the past five years but have not had a birth and are not pregnant, are also considered infecund.
Failure to Space: This includes women who are pregnant (not due to a contraceptive failure) or are less than six months postpartum amenorrheic who say they wanted the current pregnancy later.
Failure to Limit: This includes women who are pregnant (not due to a contraceptive failure) or are less than six months postpartum amenorrheic who say that they did not want another child before they became pregnant.
Excluded from the unmet need category are women who became pregnant while using a method (these women are in need of a better method of contraception).
The infecund or menopausal category on the UNMETNEED (V624) variable contains fewer cases than the EXPOSURE1 variable, because women who are categorized as infecund or menopausal, but are currently using a contraceptive method, are recorded in the two "met need" categories in UNMETNEED.
UNMETNEED (V624) incorporates responses to the following variables:
[EXPOSURE1/V623], which reports the woman's exposure to the risk of pregnancy, defined as pregnant, postpartum amenorrheic, menopausal or infecund, and fecund.
[ V225], which reports whether a current pregnancy was wanted then, later or not at all (for women who were pregnant at the time of interview).
[KIDDESIRE/V605] ,which reports whether the woman wants more children and when she would like them.
[FPMETHNOW/V312] which reports the woman's current use of contraception.
Users are also encouraged to see details of this variable provided in the "Online Guide to DHS Statistics" (Rutstein and Rojas, 2006) [URL omitted from DDI.].