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Fam Plann Perspect. 1998 Jan-Feb;30(1):4-10, 46.

Trends in contraceptive use in the United States: 1982-1995.

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  • 1Reproductive Statistics Branch, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Hyattsville, MD, USA.



Trends in contraceptive use have implications for shifts in pregnancy rates and birthrates and can inform clinical practice of changes in needs for contraceptive methods and services.


Information on current contraceptive use was collected from a representative sample of women of reproductive age in the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). This information is compared with similar data from 1982 and 1988 to examine trends in use, both overall and in social and demographic subgroups.


The proportion of U.S. women using a contraceptive method rose from 56% in 1982 to 60% in 1988 and 64% in 1995. As in 1982 and 1988, female sterilization, the pill and the male condom were the most widely used methods in 1995. Between 1988 and 1995, the proportion of users relying on the pill decreased from 31% to 27%, while condom use rose from 15% to 20%. The largest decreases in pill use and the largest increases in condom use occurred among never-married women and among black women younger than 25. Reliance on the IUD dropped sharply among Hispanic women, while use of the diaphragm fell among college-educated white women.


The decline in pill and diaphragm use and the increase in reliance on condoms suggest that concerns about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are changing patterns of method use among unmarried women.

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