October 18, 2012 — Compared with contraceptive use patterns in the mid-1990s, women are increasingly opting for long-acting reversible methods and relying less on condoms, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, USA Today reports.
NCHS researchers reviewed data on 12,279 women ages 15 through 44 from 2006 to 2010. They compared the data with a sample of 10,847 women in the same age group in 1995.
While the percentage of women who used oral contraceptives or sterilization remained about the same, the percentage who used condoms for birth control decreased from 20% to 16%.
The proportion of women using intrauterine devices increased sevenfold -- from 0.8% to 5.6%. Further, use of hormonal methods other than the pill, such as the patch or ring, increased from 4% to 7% -- a 75% difference.
Overall, 62% of women in the most recent sample used contraception, while 38% did not. The women who did not use contraception include those who are pregnant or trying to conceive, those who have never had sex and those who had not had sex within three months before the survey.
Comments on Findings
The report noted that insurance coverage and income influence contraceptive use. Jo Jones, lead author of the report, added, "Many of the newer methods require physician visits to receive either the method itself like the IUD or a prescription."
Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute, said, "There is some shift toward more effective contraception," as well as "toward methods that require less user intervention." Finer led a separate study published this month that found a significant increase in use of long-acting methods since 2002 across nearly all age, race, education and income groups (Jayson, USA Today, 10/18).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership