Contraceptive Use in the United States


By definition, contraceptives are devices or drugs used by couples to prevent unintended pregnancy. In the United States, more and more women continue to gain access to contraption in order to take control of their reproductive health. Some of the most common contraceptives include barrier methods (female and male condoms), hormonal (the pill) or intrauterine devices. In the U.S. currently, there are nearly 62 million women ages 15 through 44 who are considered to be in their childbearing years. Of these, about 70% are at risk of having an unintended pregnancy. Couples who neglect using any form of contraception have an 85% chance of becoming pregnant over the time period of one year.

Surveys have found that the average American women would like to have only two children and in order to achieve this she must spend about three decades of her life relying on contraception. Contraception is most commonly used by couples to help space the timing of their children’s births and to achieve the desired family size. This ability to delay the time of birth has economic and social benefits for the family and can help fight against poverty.

Additional Contraceptive Facts from Guttmacher Institute

• 62% of women in their childbearing years use contraception.

• 11% of women in their childbearing years do not use contraception.

• Those at the highest risk of unplanned pregnancy as a result of unprotected sex are women 15 to 29. The lowest risk is among women 40 to 44-years-old.

• Poverty may also play a role in who has access to birth control and other contraceptives. About 92% of at-risk-women with income of 300% or more of the federally defined poverty limit are using contraceptives, only 89% of those living between 0-149% of the poverty line use contraception.

• The majority of women (64%) looking to avoid unintended pregnancies use non-permanent methods of birth control including the pill, the patch, implants, vaginal ring or injection.

• Women born outside of the United States are three times more likely than an American woman to have used an IUD.

• In order to prevent not only pregnancy but also the spread of STDS, about 8% of women report using dual methods of contraception. Most commonly, a condom in addition to a hormonal birth control method.

• Teens that don’t use contraception the first time they have intercourse are twice as likely to become teen mothers as their peers who used protection.

• There are more than 3 million teenage women using contraception. Of these, 53% use the pill, 16% use other hormonal methods and 3% use an IUD.