Trends and Recent Estimates: Contraceptive Use Among U.S. Teens and Young Adults

This Research Brief draws on recently released 2006-10 data, as well as 2002 data, from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to provide updated information on contraceptive use among teens (aged 15-19) and young adults (aged 20-24). Child Trends looked at how respondents answered questions about having ever used contraception prior to the survey; using it when they first had sex; using it the most recent time they had sex; and using condoms consistently. We also examined important differences in contraceptive use between teens and young adults and by race/ethnicity. Our findings show that the increase in contraceptive use seen in the late 1980s and 1990s slowed substantially in the 2000s. However, some notable changes occurred between 2002 and 2006-10, including an increase in the percentage of young women who had used newer hormonal methods (such as the patch or the ring) and long-acting methods (such as the IUD or implants) at least once in their life and an increase in the percentage of young men who used a condom combined with a hormonal or long-acting method at most recent sex. Contraceptive use patterns continue to differ by age and by race/ethnicity.