Contraceptive use in Hungary: Past trends and actual behavior


  • Zsuzsanna Makay



contraception, birth control, Hungary, Europe, Generations and Gender Survey


In the present study I look first at findings of earlier surveys on women’s birth control behavior since 1958 in Hungary. I then turn to the detailed analysis of the birth control practices of Hungarian women based on data from the Generations and Gender Survey (2008–2009). First I examine the influences on whether partnered women of reproductive age employ any birth control methods or not, and then I explore the methods that are chosen. What emerges from this examination is that modern contraception has spread widely in Hungary since the 1960s, but in 2009 a quarter of Hungarian women were still not using any method of birth control, or else they were merely using a traditional low-efficiency types. The profile of such abstainers is clear: they are reaching the end of their reproductive period, have a low level of education, are married, have financial difficulties, are generally childless, and do not plan to have a child in the short-term. The results of a multinomial logistic model show that there are also several demographic and social factors behind choosing a method of contraception. In 2009 the most common of these was the condom, followed by birth control pills (“the Pill”) and intra-uterine devices (IUDs, “the coil”). Finally, the study compares birth control in five European countries and its changes since the 1990s. The use of the Pill
declined in all the countries in the 1990s, and only in Bulgaria and Hungary have condom users outnumbered pill-takers.