Pill still the most popular contraceptive

22/09/2003 10:00

In 2002 an estimated 1.6 million women aged between 16 and 49 years in the Netherlands were taking the contraceptive pill. This is the equivalent of 42 percent of women in this age group. Pill use was slightly lower than in previous years.

Women on the pill

Women on the pill

Pill most popular contraceptive

The contraceptive pill is by far the most widely used means of contraception. Forty-two percent of Dutch women aged between 16 and 49 years use it. One quarter of women use other methods of contraception such as sterilisation, condoms, an IUD etc., and one in three women in this age group do not use any form of contraception.

Pill use decreased after mid-nineties

Since 1981 the percentage of women taking the pill has increased yearly, from 27 (1981) to around 45 (1994). After that it decreased slightly, to 42 percent in 2002. The slight decrease of pill use in recent years was caused by women insured under the national health fund. The total number of women insured under this fund between 16 and 49 years of age who are on the pill was 1.2 million in 2002, of whom 930 thousand were aged 22 and older.

Women on the pill by age

Women on the pill by age

Pill mainly used by young women

From the age of 16 years, the percentage of women who use the pill increases quickly, from 40 percent to 75 percent among 22 year-olds. From then on it decreases gradually to around 15 percent of women aged 49 years. Obviously, the decrease in pill use is connected with the desire to start a family. Once women have completed their families, they often switch to other forms of contraception, such as an IUD or sterilisation. Men also often undergo sterilisation, so that their partners can stop using the pill.

Women on the pill by work situation

Women on the pill by work situation

Work and the pill

At younger ages there is a difference in pill use between working and non-working women. Nearly 70 percent of working women younger than thirty are on the pill, compared with 56 percent of non-working women. Above the age of thirty there are hardly any differences in pill uses between women with and without a job.

Frans Frenken