Handbook of Indicators for Family Planning Program Evaluation



To provide a comprehensive listing of the most widely used indicators for evaluating family planning programs in developing countries. The specific objectives of the handbook are: (1) to differentiate the levels for which family planning evaluation indicators are needed (program versus population level); (2) to compile in a single volume those indicators judged most useful in family planning program evaluation; (3) to provide a definition of these indicators in an effort to enhance the consistent use of terms across programs, countries, and donor agencies; and (4) to promote evaluation of programs by making indicators better known and easier to use.


This manual provides a comprehensive list of indicators which can be used to evaluate family planning programs in developing countries. The indicators are organized within a conceptual framework which specifies how programs are expected to achieve results at the program and population levels. Indicators are provided in the following categories: policy environment; service delivery operations; service output; demand for children; demand for family planning; service utilization; contraceptive practice; and fertility impact.

Developed by:

The University of North Carolina/EVALUATION Project in 1994.

Intended Users:

Researchers, program evaluators, staff in family planning agencies, administrators, and managers.


Since 1995, POPTECH consultants have been given the Handbook for use in assignments to evaluate family planning programs. Over fifteen consultants have used the indicators, describing them as useful for addressing program evaluation requirements.


Compiles indicators into a single, user-friendly source; is a useful reference document for international donor agencies and collaborating agencies; encourages consistent use of definition of indicators across countries and programs. It is not time-consuming to use and the required data is usually readily available.


Does not give instructions for designing and implementing evaluations and does not provide guidance as to how results and information should be used in drawing conclusions or in making recommendations. Organizations may find that some of the definitions differ from their own operational definition. The indicators in this book are by no means exhaustive; some consultants stated that they would like to see indicators on sustainability, user effectiveness, and integration of family planning.

Recommendations for Users:

None received from developers of the tool. Reports and Publications: Subcommittee on Quality Indicators in Family Planning Service Delivery. 1990. Report of the Subcommittee. Submitted to the Agency for International Development’s Task Force on Standardization of Family Planning Program Performance Indicators.

Tsui, A.O., Gorbach P. (1993). Conceptual Framework for the Evaluation of Family Planning Programs. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Carolina Population Center.


The manual is in English and French.


The University of North Carolina/EVALUATION Project
123 W. Franklin Street, Suite 304
Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524
Phone: (919) 966-7482
E-mail: measure@unc.edu
Website: http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/measure/home.html