Trends in reproductive behavior among young single women in Colombia and Peru: 1985-1999

Demography. 2003 Nov;40(4):659-73. doi: 10.1353/dem.2003.0031.


Using "calendar" data for single women aged 15-24 from successive Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in Colombia and Peru during the 1990s, we document trends, year by year, in sexual activity, the use of contraceptives, and subsequent reproductive outcomes. We provide evidence of the important and hitherto largely untapped potential of DHS calendar data to draw complete sexual and reproductive profiles when data from various surveys are integrated. Over the period 1985-1999, young single women in both Colombia and Peru became sexually active at younger ages. The use of contraceptives, especially the use of condoms, increased but did not fully offset the rise in sexual activity, and thus the incidence of premarital conceptions rose among young single women. In both countries, sharp declines occurred in the proportion of premaritally conceived births that were reported as being wanted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Contraception Behavior / ethnology
  • Contraception Behavior / trends
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Peru / epidemiology
  • Reproductive Behavior / ethnology*
  • Sexual Abstinence / statistics & numerical data
  • Single Person / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors