Survey Methodology

PMA collects a nationally or sub-nationally representative sample of data from households and women in selected sentinel sites, to estimate family planning and other health indicators on an annual basis in nine pledging FP2020 countries. The PMA surveys involve interviewing a sample of females aged 15 to 49 years and a probability sample of health facilities, pharmacies, and retail outlets that offer family planning services to the selected communities. The female respondents are asked questions about their background, their birth history and fertility preferences, their use of family planning methods, and other information that is helpful to policymakers and program administrators in health and family planning improvement.

The survey sample in each country is based on a multi-stage cluster design, typically using urban-rural and major regions as the strata. A nationally representative number of geographical clusters ("enumeration areas") is sampled in each program country. In each enumeration area, households are listed and mapped. Households are systematically sampled for inclusion in the survey round, using random selection. Embedded in each household survey is the female respondent survey, with a series of questions for all women of reproductive age (15-49) living at each household. Respondents for the service delivery point survey are management staff answering on behalf of the facility.

The household and female surveys are carried out by female data collectors, known as resident enumerators (REs). Eligibility criteria for selection of REs vary by program country. REs are typically women over the age of 21 who are from or near the respective enumeration areas and hold at least a high school diploma.

Each RE takes about six weeks to collect data from all selected households, eligible women, and service delivery points. Data collected from households generate aggregate numbers (descriptive statistics). Data processing produces weighted estimates to report to national and international stakeholders. Data are immediately processed when collection is completed, and the results are disseminated to country stakeholders. Data collection takes place semi-annually in the first two years for each project country and annually thereafter. 

How is PMA (2019-) different from PMA2020 (2013-2019)?

Starting in 2019, PMA is adding new features to the survey design to enhance data utilization and action.

  1.   PMA is implementing a panel design with embedded cross-sectional surveys, enabling improved measurement of changing contraceptive use dynamics and causal factors
  2.  Generating a set of core questions that include capture of contextual community norms as well as individual aspirations, intentions, and empowerment, plus adolescent-specific questions.
  3. Customizing an added set of questions to meet the needs of country governments and stakeholders, including intervention exposure.

Sampling Overview

PMA uses a two-stage cluster design with typically urban-rural and major regions as the strata. A representative sample of enumeration areas (EAs) are drawn from a master sampling frame covered, usually provided by the national statistical agency in each country. Ahead of data collection, households, and key landmarks in each EA are listed and mapped by resident data collectors. Within each EA at baseline, a random sample of households is selected. The survey aims to include a sample size that would allow analysts to calculate a national estimate for all indicators, including calculating the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. The target sample assumed an expected number of eligible women per household and accounted for non-response rates and loss to follow-up. At baseline, all resident eligible females are contacted and consented for interviews. Up to three private SDPs within the EA were also selected for interviews along with the public health posts, district hospitals and regional hospitals serving the EA.

Survey Protocol Documents

PMA Phase 2 and Phase 3 Survey Protocol >> A summary of Phase 2 and Phase 3 protocols for the household questionnaire, female, service delivery point, and client exit interview surveys. Available in English and French.

PMA Phase 4 Protocol >> A summary of Phase 4 protocols for the household questionnaire, female, service delivery point, and client exit interview surveys. Available in English and French.

PMA COVID-19 Survey Weight Construction >> A summary of the creation of COVID-19 phone survey weights. Available in English

PMA2020 General Sampling Strategy Memo >> A summary of PMA2020's general survey sampling strategy including survey sampling assumptions and selection. Available in English and French

PMA2020 Service Delivery Point Sampling Memo >> A summary of PMA2020's general survey sampling strategy including survey sampling assumptions and selection. Available in English and French

PMA2020/Nigeria Sampling Memo >> Summarizes the overall survey design and sample size calculation method of last section provides methods regarding post-stratification weights to calculate national-level estimates, unique for Nigeria PMA2020. Available in English

PMA2020 Segmentation and Supplementation Memo >> General guidelines on when segmentation and supplementation should be used. Available in English

PMA2020 Weights Memo >> A summary of the creation of PMA2020 household and female weights. Available in English


The PMA platform collects data that are comparable across all program countries and consistent with existing nationally representative surveys. To accomplish this, PMA developed standard household, female, service delivery point, and client exit interview questionnaires. These standard questionnaires are reviewed and modified prior to program launch in each country, to ensure questions are appropriate to each setting. Country-specific questions are also added that reflect programmatic priorities for stakeholders.

PMA Interim surveys are conducted 4-6 months after an annual survey round (Phase 1, Phase 2, etc.) Country teams choose between either an in-person SDP follow-up survey, or phone-based CEI follow-up survey, re-interviewing women who were interviewed in-person at sampled SDPs at the prior annual phase. The standalone COVID-19 survey was a one-time standalone survey, fielded instead of the SDP or CEI follow-up surveys by country teams in Burkina Faso, the DRC, Nigeria and Kenya at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. The first SDP and CEI follow-up surveys are being fielded following Phase 1 in Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Rajasthan, and Uganda.  

The USAID-funded Research for Scalable Solutions (R4S) Project developed a self-care module that was added to the female questionnaire of the PMA survey in Kenya (National Phase 3, 2021/2022) and Nigeria (Kano and Lagos States Phase 3, 2021). Click here to read the brief and see the questions that were added. 

Below are links to standard questionnaires that include a set of core questions that are adapted prior to data collection to be country and round-specific.

PMA Phase 3  Questionnaires - English

Female Questionnaire

Household Questionnaire

SDP Questionnaire

PMA Phase 3  Questionnaires - French

Female Questionnaire

Household Questionnaire

SDP Questionnaire

PMA Phase 2  Questionnaires - English
PMA Phase 2  Questionnaires - French
PMA Interim Surveys - English
PMA Interim Surveys - French
PMA COVID-19 Questionnaire - English
PMA COVID-19 Questionnaire - French
PMA Baseline Questionnaires - English
PMA Baseline Questionnaires - French
PMA Ethiopia Questionnaires
PMA2020 Questionnaires 2017-2018 - English

Analytical Handbook

PMA’s Phase 1 Cross Sectional Analytical Handbook provides a complete overview of the indicators PMA includes in its Phase 1 Briefs. The handbook is intended for all data users who want to better understand PMA’s analytical approach, including how PMA approaches its analyses, constructs its weights and treats its missing data. Additionally, the handbook provides a list of key variables by survey round that data users will need to replicate PMA’s analyses. Access the English version here and French version here.


View country-specific survey design details below.

Burkina Faso Indonesia
Côte d’Ivoire Kenya
Democratic Republic of Congo Niger
Ethiopia Nigeria
Ghana Uganda

 Trends in Contraceptive Use and Unmet Need

Total and modern contraceptive prevalence and unmet need percentages and 95% confidence intervals for PMA2020 surveys for all and for women in union ages 15-49.