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The Emergency Contraception Capital of the UK
- Manchester is the UK’s capital of emergency contraception, as data shows people are likelier to be searching for the morning after pill there than in any other city in the UK
- The city is closely followed by Leeds and then Oldham
- The biggest day for searches around the morning after pill is New Year’s Day
- Searches typically peak in the early hours of Sunday morning each week
The morning after pill has never been as widely available. You can get it from GP surgeries and sexual health clinics of course. But you can also get it from pharmacies (including High Street chains) over the counter, and you can even get it online.
Millions of us in the UK head online to hunt out prescription medication and over the counter medicines alike each year on Google. And the Morning After Pill is incredibly well searched for in Google UK.
But where in the country are these searches happening? What time of day? And at what points during the year are they peaking?
We took a look at Google search data (powered by Google Trends and Kwfinder.com) to find out.
When Are We Searching?
According to Google Trends statistics:
- Searches for “morning-after pill,” typically peak on Sunday. Over the past 90 days, almost all weeks have had a peak on a Sunday
- Searches peak in the very early hours of the morning. Looking in more detail at the past 7 days, the biggest peak came at 5 am on Sunday morning, while other peaks took place at 1 am Monday morning, 3 am Saturday morning and midnight to 1 am Thursday. One thing is consistent regardless of the day of the week: the bulk of searches for “morning-after pill,” take place in the very early hours of the morning.
- Over the past 3 months, the peak day for searches was New Year’s Day (1st Jan 2019).
- Google Trends highlights Northern Ireland as the county within the UK where the interest in “Morning After Pill,” as a search term is highest:
But Let’s Look at Cities Across the Country
We looked at 80+ town and cities in the UK with the highest populations to assess the number of searches per month in Google (on average) for the following search queries:
- Morning After Pill
- Emergency Contraception
- Emergency Contraceptive Pill
- Plan B Pill
- Morning After Pill Online
You’ll be as unsurprised as we were to find that most searches happen in the cities with the highest populations. Obvious, right?
London, Birmingham and Manchester top the table if we look simply at these raw figures.
But what happens when we take population into account?
We used Kwfinder.com to pull this search data at a city level and multiplied by 12 to give us an annual search volume. Dividing the population figure for that town or city by the total annual search volume figure for that town or city (taken from the most recent Census) gives us an indication as to how likely people are to be looking for the morning after pill online in that place.
And the Morning After Pill Capital of the UK is….
On average, based on the queries we analysed, the likelihood of people searching for emergency contraception in Google is highest in Manchester, followed closely by Leeds then Oldham.
The top 20 cities are shown on the map along with the proportion of people each year who make a search within that city.
The full data set is below:
|Town or City||% of People Making a Search Each Year*||Total Morning After Pill Online Searches Per Year||Population|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||2.46%||6600||268064|
|Kingston upon Hull||1.60%||4560||284321|
*assumes a single search by each searcher
Swansea, Milton Keynes and Telford all have an incidence of below 1%.
Should we really be buying the morning after pill online?
Statistically, the morning after pill is more effective the sooner after unprotected sex you take it. So is it ok to get it online?
Our Consultant Pharmacist, James O’Loan advises:
“Different types of emergency contraception are effective for different amounts of time after unprotected sex. If we look at EllaOne, for example, this can be used for up to 5 days after unprotected sex. With same day dispatch and next day delivery, buying online is a very feasible option.
And in many cases, women simply don’t feel comfortable enough to go into a pharmacy and speak to someone face to face. It’s a sensitive issue for many, so this is a convenient and hassle-free way for women to access this incredibly important medication in the event of unprotected sex or the failure of a condom.”
You can access all of the data we used in putting these statistics together here
We took average UK monthly search volume data from kwfinder.com for several queries, outlined in the data set. We repeated this for each town or city in the list and multiplied by 12 to get an annual estimate of searches.
We then acquired the population data from the 2011 census.
We then divided population data by total annual searches before converting this into a percentage. This gives us an estimated percentage of people in each town or city who make a search for emergency contraception online each year.
Caveats to note:
- We make an assumption in this methodology of no more than a single search by any one searcher. This is a broad assumption but we’ve made the same assumption for all towns and cities.