Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. SD 4.3 Contraceptive use by teens

04/01/1997

Sexual intercourse without contraception puts a teen at risk of unintended pregnancy and of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The vast majority of teens do not want to become pregnant. Data from a national survey show that among teens who had first intercourse at age 17 or younger, fewer than one in one hundred wanted a pregnancy to occur at that time. This was true for both males and females, and for both blacks and whites.43

Condoms and birth control pills are the most common forms of contraception used by sexually active teenagers.44 In 1995, over half (54 percent) of sexually experienced students in grades 9-12 reported use of a condom during their last sexual intercourse, while only 17 percent reported use of the birth control pill (see Tables SD 4.3.A and SD 4.3.B).

Condom use among sexually experienced students increased between 1990 to 1995 from 45 percent to 54 percent (see Table SD 4.3.A). Use of birth control pills has remained relatively steady from 1993 to 1995, with some subgroup differences that are discussed below (see Table SD 4.3.B).

Differences by Gender. Female students are less likely than male students to report having used a condom during their last intercourse (49 percent of females vs. 61 percent of males in 1995).

Differences by Grade. Use of condoms decreases as grade in school increases, while use of the pill increases with grade. In 1995, 63 percent of students in the 9th grade reported use of a condom compared with 50 percent of 12th grade students. In contrast, only 11 percent of 9th graders reported use of the pill, while a quarter of 12th graders reported its use (see Figure SD 4.3).

Differences by Race.45 Black students report the highest use of condoms, while white students report the highest use of the pill. In 1995, white students were more likely to have used the pill during their last sexual intercourse (21 percent) than were either black students (10 percent) or Hispanic students (11 percent).

It is important to note that the data presented here include only those teens who are in school. Teens out of school are likely to have lower rates of contraceptive use as their access to education regarding the risks associated with unprotected sex, as well as guidance on how to obtain protection, is more limited.
 

Figure SD 4.3  
Percentage of Sexually Experienced High School Students Who Reported Using a Contraceptive During Their Last Sexual Intercourse, by Method and Grade: 1995 

SD4_3.GIF

Source: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance- United States, 1993. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 44, No. SS-1, 1995. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 1995. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 45, No. SS-4, 1996: and unpublished tabulations from L. Kann, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 
 

Table SD 4.3.A 
Contraceptive Use: Percentage of Sexually Experienced High School Students Who Reported Using A Condom During Last Sexual Intercourse:  1990, 1993, and 1995

                       
     
1990
1993
1995
     
 
 
 
     
Total
Male
Female
Total
Male
Female
Total
Male
Female
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
45
49
40
53
59
46
54
61
49
                       
Grade
  9th
51
54
46
62
63
59
63
66
59
  10th
48
53
43
55
63
46
60
68
52
  11th
44
51
37
55
65
46
52
57
49
  12th
42
45
38
47
52
41
50
57
43
                       
Race/Ethnicity
  White, non-Hispanic
46
50
42
52
59
46
53
58
48
  Black, non-Hispanic
47
55
37
57
64
48
66
72
61
  Hispanic 
38
47
28
46
55
37
44
56
33
                       
Source: "1990-1991 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System." Chronic Disease and Health Promotion Reprints from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 1993." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 44, No. SS-1, 1995. "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance- United States, 1995." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 45, No. SS-4, 1996: and unpublished tabulations from L. Kann.

 
 

Table SD 4.3.B  
Contraceptive Use: Percentage of Sexually Experienced High School Students Who Reported Birth Pill Control Use During Last Sexual Intercourse: 1993 and 1995

                 
     
1993
1995
     
 
 
     
Total
Male
Female
Total
Male
Female
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
18
15
22
17
14
20
                 
Grade
  9th
9
8
11
11
10
13
  10th
14
10
17
12
9
16
  11th
17
12
22
15
13
17
  12th
26
23
29
25
21
29
                 
Race/Ethnicity 
  White, non-Hispanic
20
17
24
21
17
25
  Black, non-Hispanic
15
11
21
10
8
12
  Hispanic 
12
10
15
11
14
9
                 
Sources: "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance- United States, 1993." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 44, No. SS-1, 1995. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 1995." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vol. 45, No. SS-4, 1996: and unpublished tabulations from L. Kann, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

43 Moore, K.A. and Peterson, J.L. August, 1989. "The Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy." Final Report to NICHD and ASPE/DHHS, Grant No. HD 21537.

44 Peterson, L.S. "Contraceptive Use in the United States: 1982-90." Advance Data, No. 260, February 14, 1995. Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from the National Survey of Family Growth.

45 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.
 
 

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