Objectives: To analyse cervical screening coverage data by age over time in a number of developed countries throughout the world, with specific emphasis on trends for younger women and on age differentials between younger and older women. Methods: Routinely collected cervical screening statistics and survey data were collected on the proportion of women who have undergone cervical screening with cytology in seven countries in the period 1995 to 2005. Results: Data for the 25-29 age group were examined. Coverage fell in most countries, in three by more than 5 percentage points. In two countries w ile overall coverage rose in the period, the rise was not as steep in the youngest group of women. Data for each available 5-year age group for the different countries shows a similar gradient in most, regardless of the absolute level of coverage. Although the trend is not uniform in every country, it appears that generally the gap between coverage of younger women and coverage of older women increased, sometimes dramatically, between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s. Conclusions There is a general trend in developed countries towards lower coverage in young women (25-29 years old). No common underlying cause has been clearly identified and there is a need for further studies to investigate the possible reasons for this phenomenon.