Contraception in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Contraception, or birth control, involves the deliberate prevention of pregnancy. Common contraceptive methods include, but are not limited to, male and female condoms, oral pills, intrauterine devices, contraceptive patches, and contraceptive implants. The use and availability of contraceptives differs greatly by country and region for economic, religious and cultural reasons. In 2016, contraceptive use averted around 2.2 million unplanned pregnancies in developing regions that would have ended in unsafe abortions and an additional 1.9 million that would have ended in unplanned births.

In the United States contraceptives are widely available and use is commonplace. In 2017, revenue from over-the-counter female contraceptives alone, reached over 366 million dollars. As of 2017, almost half of all women were using at least one method of contraception with male condoms, oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices the most common methods. Among men, from 2011 to 2015, around 82 percent reported using some form of contraception during their last sexual intercourse.

Contraceptive use among adolescents is an important and sometimes controversial issue. A survey from 2011 to 2015 found that 97 percent of teenage girls had used a condom during sexual intercourse in the past, while 60 percent said they had used the withdrawal method, and 54 percent the Pill. Such information highlights the importance of sex education and contraception availability, especially given that women using the withdrawal method have a 22 percent chance of becoming pregnant within the first year of typical use.

Despite the widespread use and availability of contraceptives in the U.S. there are still women in need of such services. In 2014, it was estimated that over 38 million women were in need of contraceptive services and supplies, with over 5 million living in the state of California. Although publicly funded clinics serve millions of women per year, they are still unable to meet even half of the need for contraceptive services.

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