The utilization of family planning services in Nigeria has remained low despite efforts by the government and development partners [1, 2, 3, 4]. Nigeria is a country on the Gulf of Guinea, with the highest human population in Africa, the ripple effect of this population growth. Without commensurate improvement in the socio-economic and human per capita index, the consequences will be enormous, from emerging urban slums posing a greater risk for disease outbreaks to resource depletion, rising unemployment rates among the populace etcetera.  reported 2.5 percent as Nigeria’s annual rate of population change between 2020–2025, with a 3.11 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in quarter one (Q1) of 2022 , when compared to the United States of America, with a 0.57 percent annual growth rate in 2022, This brings to bear that the rate of Nigeria’s population explosion is not sustainable in the long term. According to findings of , the contraceptive prevalence rate of family planning utilization among married women or those in a union was 12%. This implies that 88% of women of reproductive age who are married or in a union do not utilize family planning services, thereby being at risk for unintended pregnancies, which may result in unsafe abortion or bearing children out of choice. Family planning is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent maternal, infant, and child mortality as it reduces the number of unintended pregnancies, the number of abortions, and the proportion of births at high risk . Therefore, one can conclude that the low uptake of family planning services could be one of the reasons for Nigeria's high maternal, infant, and child mortality rates. From the economic viewpoint, family planning helps reduce parenthood's financial and emotional burden. Families with fewer and healthier children can devote more resources to providing their children with adequate food, clothing, housing, and educational opportunities . The high proportion of malnourished and out-of-school children in Nigeria, as asserted by, can again be attributed to the low uptake of family planning services.
Access to and knowledge about family planning are predictors of the services' utilization . In Nigeria, family planning services are conducted at all levels (primary, secondary, and tertiary) of health care, making the services accessible to the population. Regarding family planning, several studies have reported adequate knowledge but only for residents of urban areas and among women who had at least a secondary level of education . This implies that the vast majority of rural dwellers, which accounts for 80% of the population, do not have adequate knowledge about family planning hence a likelihood of non-utilization of the services.
Other predictors of the utilization of family planning services in Nigeria are the level of education, wealth index, and geo-political region of residence . According to , contraceptive prevalence ranges from 26% in Lagos State (Southwest) to < 1% in Jigawa and Kano States (Northwest). Male partner consent has also been shown to predict uptake of family planning services . Findings of a study by  showed that the use of family planning was high among the respondents whose husbands gave consent to the use of family planning.
Low utilization of family planning services in Nigeria implies the poor state of predictive factors (access, knowledge, and partner consent) coupled with barriers to utilizing these services. According to , barriers to using modern methods of family planning services in Nigeria include concern for safety to health, Husband's opposition, desire for more children, religious prohibition, lack of money, and fear of side effects.
Given the many benefits of family planning, it is pertinent that Nigeria develops and implements interventions to improve the utilization of family planning services, especially now that the country is faced with poor maternal, newborn, and economic indices. Though there have been several interventions and programs by both the government and development partners aimed at improving the utilization of family planning services, such interventions and programs seem to yield just little results as utilization has remained consistently low.
Interventions and programs aimed at improving the utilization of family planning services can only be effective and yield desired results if the utilization of the services in terms of preferences, trends, patterns, and utilization associated factors such as accessibility and availability of the services to the populace is examined. Interventions and programs developed and implemented based on findings from such examinations are believed to yield more results. Therefore, it only makes sense to understand the regional distribution of the utilization of family planning services, to help inform strategic reproductive health program planning and implementation. Hence this paper aims to explore the utilization of family planning services in Nigeria.