Contraception & Sexual Behaviour
1 in 4 women use pill
Usual method of contraception in 2002/03 by women aged 16 to 49, Great Britain
In 2002/03 the contraceptive pill continued to be the most common method of contraception, used by 26 per cent of GB women aged 16 to 49. Sterilisation, of either the woman or her partner was used by 21 per cent, and the male condom by 19 per cent. These have remained the three most common methods of contraception since 1986.
The type of contraception that women use varies with their age. Women aged under 35 are more likely to use the pill than any other form of contraception, while the likelihood of a woman having been sterilised, or having a partner who has had a vasectomy, rises with age.
Between 1998/99 and 2002/03 the proportion of 16 to 17 year-olds using the pill increased from 17 per cent to 24 per cent. There were also rises among 30 to 34 year-olds (from 24 per cent to 28 per cent) and 45 to 49 year-olds (from 3 per cent to 9 per cent). In all other age groups the level of use remained similar to the 1998/99 level.
Since 1986, the use of surgical sterilisation has fallen among women aged 25 to 39 and their partners. The proportion of 45 to 49 year old women using sterilisation as a method of contraception increased from 35 per cent in 1986 to 50 per cent in 1988/89, but then fell to 44 per cent in 2002/03.
Condom use, after increasing from 13 per cent in 1986 to 18 per cent in 1995/96, stabilised and was 19 per cent in 2002. There was a decline in condom-use among women aged 45 to 49 and their partners (from 16 per cent to 12 per cent). Among women aged 35 to 44, condom use was much the same in 2002/03 as 16 years earlier.
Source: General Household Survey, Living in Britain, 2002
Notes: All data refer to women aged 16 to 49 unless otherwise stated. Women were asked their usual method of contraception.