Condom Use

Publication Date:

Aug 23, 2016

Trends in Condom Use

Condom use at the most recent sexual intercourse, as reported by sexually active high school students, increased from 46 percent in 1991, to a high of 63 percent in 2003. Since then, there has been a small but steady decrease, to 57 percent in 2015. (Figure 1)

Differences by Gender

Reported condom use differs by gender. In 2015, 62 percent of sexually active male high school students reported that they or their partner used a condom at their most recent sexual intercourse, compared with 52 percent of females. (Figure 1) Gender disparities within race/ethnicity groups differ in magnitude. Black males were 27 percentage points more likely than black females to report condom use at last sexual intercourse, Hispanic males were 14 percentage points, and white males were 2 percentage points more likely than their female counterparts to report using a condom. (Figure 2)

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin[1]

Black male students were more likely than white male students to report condom use (74 and 58 percent, respectively) in 2015. No other race/ethnicity differences were statistically significant.[2] (Figure 2)

Differences by Grade

In 2015, a slightly smaller percentage of eleventh- and twelfth-graders used condoms than ninth- and tenth-graders. However, there were no statistically significant differences in condom use by grade level.[3] (Figure 3)

Other Estimates

State and Local Estimates

2015 estimates of condom use among high school students (Grades 9-12) are available for select states and cities from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) (Tables 67 and 68).

International Estimates

Estimates of condom use among 15-year-olds in 39 European countries can be found in a summary of the results of the 2013/2014 Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, Health and Policy for  Children and Adolescents, no. 7 (page 179).

Estimates of the percentage of 15- to 24-year-olds who have had more than one sexual partner and reported using a condom the last time they had sex in the past 12 months are available from UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016. (See Table 4)

Data and Appendix

Data Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2016). 1991-2015 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Accessed on 10/20/2016. Available at

Raw Data Source

Youth Risk Behavior Survey




Students were asked the following question: “The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?” Estimates here are limited to those who are currently sexually active (i.e., had sexual intercourse within the last three months). Note that students may also use other methods of contraception instead of, or in addition to, condoms.


[1]Hispanics may be any race. Estimates for whites and blacks in this report do not include Hispanics.

[2]Statistical significance was determined by comparing 95-percent confidence intervals around the respective estimates.

[3]Statistical significance was determined by comparing 95-percent confidence intervals around the respective estimates.

Suggested Citation

Child Trends Databank. (2016). Condom Use. Available at: