State of World Population Report 2022

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) publishes the State of World Population (SoWP) Report every year. Each edition of the report covers and analyses developments and trends in world population & demographics and sheds light on specific regions, countries, population groups and the unique challenges they face. The report has been published annually since 1978.

About the State of World Population Report 2022

Recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) flagship State of World Population Report 2022, titled “Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy“.

The 2022 report takes up the issue of unintended pregnancy and looks at its drivers and impact. It discusses the causes and consequences of the unmet need for family planning.

This report also talks about the constellation of forces that can lead to unintended pregnancy and how that pregnancy can harm a woman’s or adolescent’s health, women’s earning potential and more.

Key Highlights of the State of World Population Report 2022

Unintended Pregnancies

  • The latest data represents that globally, between 2015 and 2019, there were roughly 121 million unintended pregnancies each year.
  • Between 1990 and 2019, the absolute number of women who experience an unintended experience grew by about 13% due to population growth.
  • As per this report, the current rate of 64 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women means that roughly 6% of the world’s women experience an unintended pregnancy each year.

Unsafe Contraceptives

  • Globally, an estimated 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and modern methods of contraception.
  • The most common reason cited by women for not using contraception were:
    • concern about contraceptive side effects and health risks (26%),
    • infrequent sex or none at all (24%),
    • opposition to contraception (23%),
    • they were breastfeeding or had not resumed menstruation after a birth (20%).
  • A 2019 study represents that in 47 countries, about 40% of all sexually active women were not using contraception methods to avoid pregnancy.

Rising Abortion

  • Globally, 29% of all pregnancies (intended and unintended combined) end in abortion.
  • Over 60% of unintended pregnancies ended in induced abortion.
  • An estimated 45% of all abortions performed globally remain unsafe.
  • As per the study, unsafe abortion is the leading cause of maternal death and hospitalises millions of women every year in developing countries.

Rape related Pregnancies

  • Nearly a quarter of all women are unable to say no to sex.
  • Contraceptive use is 53% lower among women who have experienced intimate partner violence.
  • Rape-related pregnancies are equally or more likely to occur than pregnancies from consensual sex.

Humanitarian Emergencies

  • In humanitarian emergencies, such as wars among nations, many women lose access to contraceptives and/or experience sexual violence.
  • Some studies have shown that over 20% of refugee women and girls will face sexual violence.
  • During the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated disruption in contraceptive supply and services lasted an average of 3.6 months, resulting in up to 1.4 million unintended pregnancies.

Factors contributing to Unintended Pregnancies

  • Gender inequality.
  • Lack of sexual and reproductive health care and information.
  • Contraceptive methods that are unsuitable for women’s bodies or circumstances.
  • Harmful norms and stigma surrounding women controlling their own fertility and bodies.
  • Sexual violence and reproductive coercion.
  • Poverty and stalled economic development.
  • Judgement attitudes or shaming in health services.


  1. What is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)?

    UNFPA is the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations. The agency became operational in 1969 as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. In 1971, it was placed under the United National General Assembly (UNGA)’s authority. Its name changed to United National Population Fund in 1987, but shortened term UNFPA has remained.

  2. What is meant by Unintended Pregnancy?

    Unintended Pregnancy means a pregnancy that happens to a woman who was not planning to have any (more) children or that was mistimed, in that it occurred earlier than desired.

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