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Fam Plann Perspect. 1990 Sep-Oct;22(5):198-205.

Contraceptive practice in the United States, 1982-1988.

Author information

  • 1Family Growth Survey Branch, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control.

Erratum in

  • Fam Plann Perspect 1991 May-Jun;23(3):107.


Use of oral contraceptives by married women declined markedly between 1973 and 1982, but analysis of data from the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth shows that this decline stopped between 1982 and 1988. Reliance on female sterilization continued to increase, however, and it remained the leading method among currently married and formerly married women. Among women of all marital statuses, IUD use dropped by two-thirds between 1982 and 1988, from 2.2 million to 0.7 million women. As the proportion of less-educated, low-income, black and Hispanic contraceptive users choosing the IUD decreased, the proportion relying on female sterilization increased. Among college-educated white women, use of female sterilization did not increase; instead, pill use rose in this group. Condom use increased most sharply among teenagers and rose among never-married white and black women, but the pill was still the leading method by far in these groups, regardless of race. Among never-married black women, reliance on sterilization increased significantly between 1982 and 1988, with female sterilization becoming the second leading method. Use of the diaphragm declined sharply over the same period among never-married white women and among those who intended to have more children, as did use of periodic abstinence (rhythm and natural family planning) and foam.

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