A review of contraceptive practices among married and unmarried women in China from 1982 to 2010

Jinke Li, Marleen Temmerman, Qiuju Chen, Jialin Xu, Lina Hu, Wei Hong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To analyse the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) among-and contraceptive methods used by-married and unmarried women in China, from 1982 to 2010. Method Data concerning married women were collected from national surveys conducted by the Chinese government. Those pertaining to unmarried women were obtained by searching the China Academic Journal Network Publishing database and PubMed. Results CPR among married women in China was 89% in 2010, the highest in the world. Most married women use long-acting reversible contraceptives, particularly intrauterine devices, and sterilisation. CPR among sexually active unmarried women has fluctuated between 17 and 70% since 1988, although the frequency of condom use has increased (Cochran-Armitage trend test, χ2 = 126.1, p < 0.001). More than 25% of unmarried women rely since at least 1982 on less effective contraceptive methods, including rhythm and withdrawal. This has led to an annual induced abortion rate of approximately 20% among those women. Conclusion In sharp contrast to the high CPR among married women, the rate among sexually active unmarried women in China has remained extremely low since 1988. More efforts should be directed at raising contraception awareness among this population to improve their reproductive health and reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-158
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Contraception
  • Married women
  • Unmarried women


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