Factors associated with contraceptive use in late- and post-apartheid South Africa

In 1994, South Africa underwent a transition from the institutionalized racism of an apartheid state to a nonracial democracy. This study uses data from two surveys conducted in the style of the Demographic and Health Surveys to compare patterns and predictors of racial differences in modern contraceptive use in the late- and post-apartheid periods. Age-group-specific logistic regression models show that despite strong state family planning programs targeting black women, these women were less likely than nonblacks to practice modern contraception both before and after the political transition, even after controlling for large racial-group differences in sociodemographic characteristics and the distribution of socioeconomic resources. Black, colored, Indian, and white women show different patterns of contraceptive use across their reproductive careers; in particular, young, unmarried black and colored women show high levels o fuse. Use of injectable contraceptives is also high among black and colored women, whereas injectables are not the primary method used by Indian or white women. These findings are discussed in light of their research and policy implications.