This analysis used data, primarily from the 1997 Vietnamese Demographic and Health Survey (VN-DHS 1997), to determine the changes in contraceptive use in Vietnam. A descriptive analysis of individual, household and community characteristics was made to obtain a general description of contraceptive use. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were also performed on the currently married in (a) a sample of all women and (b) only those women who live in rural areas, to identify the strength of association that each variable has with the use of modern contraceptives. The use of any contraceptive method and the use of modern methods increased from 1988 to 1997. The primary contraceptive method utilized is the IUD and its use has increased substantially from 1988 to 1997. Younger women (aged 15–24) were less likely to use any contraceptive method. Women not desiring additional children were significantly more likely to use contraceptive methods than those desiring more children. Education has a clear impact on both contraceptive knowledge and use by women, with higher educated women being more likely to use a contraceptive method. Illiterate women with no formal education were significantly less likely to use modern methods of contraception. Differentials in contraceptive use exist regarding place of residence. Urban women are more likely than rural women to use contraception, but the difference is not large. Women living in mountainous areas are less likely to use contraception, compared with women living in the lowlands. Living standards, especially the availability of electricity in the community, have a large effect on the methods of contraception adopted by women. Religion is not strongly related to the contraceptive behaviour of women. There were significant differences in the use of contraceptives in communities with good quality of care, with increased contraceptive use corresponding to the increase in availability of family planning workers at communes, provision of counselling services at health facilities, and the volume of mass media family planning messages.