The National Center for Health Statistics has released its latest report on contraceptive use in the United States. The NCHS data clearly show that contraceptive use is a mainstream behavior: nearly 70% of women between the ages of 25 to 44 currently use a method. Not surprisingly, use was lower among teens and young adults; nonetheless, just under half were currently contracepting. The most popular method? The pill, chosen by 16% of women. Following close behind in popularity was female sterilization (15.5%).
Interestingly, education level did not influence use. Similar percentages of women currently used a method across the range of schooling, from those with no high school diploma on through those with a college degree. However, education level did make a difference in regard to the method women chose. The lower a woman’s level of education, the greater the likelihood that she chose female sterilization. The opposite dynamic occurred in regard to pill use, with a linear line showing increased use with each incremental level of education. Condoms and LARC methods were the great equalizers in this case, with similar percentages of women using across education levels.
On the other hand, a woman’s age influenced method choice. While 7.2% of women chose LARC overall, women in their middle reproductive years, 35 to 34, were twice as likely to use (11.1%) a LARC method as were women who were younger (5.0%) or older (5.3%). Pill use was more popular among young women, 22.4% of women age 15-24 selecting oral contraceptives, 16.9% of women age 25 -34, and only 8.7% of women 35-44. As one would expect, few young women underwent female sterilization, but nearly one in three (31%) of women in the older age bracket did.
More than 99% of women who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method, with the greatest commonality being pill use: 4 of 5 sexually experienced women have relied on oral contraceptives at some time in their lives.
—Deborah Kowal, MA, PA, President & CEO, Contraceptive Technology Communications, Inc.
Daniels K, Daugherty J, Jones J. Current contraceptive status among women aged 15–44: United States, 2011–2013. NCHS data brief, no 173. Hyattsville, MD. Accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db173.pdf
Daniels K, Mosher WD and Jones J, Contraceptive methods women have ever used: United States, 1982–2010,National Health Statistics Reports, 2013, No. 62. Hyattsville, MD. Accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr062.pdf