The paper provides a comprehensive picture of knowledge and use of contraceptives among scheduled tribes of India and selected central hilly states where tribal population contributes more than 30% of the total tribal population of the country. An attempt is also made to know how far scheduled tribes differ from non-tribes in the states, namely Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, using information collected in the third round of District-level Household Survey (DLHS-RCH III: 2007-2008). Bivariate analysis was used for understanding the level of knowledge, use of and unmet need for contraception among different tribal and non-tribal groups. Binary logistic regression was used for understanding the factors associated with the use of contraception and unmet need for family planning among tribal women. Knowledge and use of temporary contraceptive methods are considerably lower among tribal women compared to their non-tribal counterparts in the three states under study. Low acceptance due to phobia of adverse health consequences, accessibility to and lack of sound knowledge of contraception are the leading reasons for not using contraceptives. The unmet need for family planning among them was quite high, especially in the state of Jharkhand. Multivariate analysis substantiated the role of women and husbands’ education, age of women, and number of surviving boys in the use of any modern method of contraception. Educating women and their respective husbands about proper use and benefits of modern contraceptives is important to solve the problem of high unmet need for family planning among these tribal women. A simultaneous attention to the health systems strengthening component is crucial for ensuring sustained delivery of good-quality family planning services.