Nearly 2 in 3 women in America use contraception, but the method varies by age.
Nearly three-quarters of women in their 40s used contraceptives, a rate higher than women in younger age groups.

ABOUT 65 PERCENT OF U.S. women – nearly 47 million people – used contraception of some kind between 2015 and 2017, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Researchers measured use among more than 5,500 women ages 15 to 49, identifying the four most commonly used contraceptive methods: female sterilization, birth control pills, long-acting reversible contraceptives – including implants and intrauterine devices – and male condoms.

About 1 in 5 women using contraception were sterilized – meaning they had a surgery that permanently prevents pregnancy – with the method increasing in use with age. Another 12.6 percent of women took birth control pills, while 10.3 percent used LARCs and 8.7 percent relied on male condoms, the report said.

Roughly 10 percent of women who were using contraception used more than one method during the same month, such as birth control pills and condoms. For the study, those using more than one method were classified “by the method that was most effective in preventing pregnancy,” researchers said.

About 8 percent of women reportedly had sex in the past three months and were not seeking pregnancy, but were not using any contraception.

“Most women who were not using contraception had reasons for not doing so, such as seeking pregnancy, being pregnant or postpartum, or not being sexually active,” the report said.

Overall, nearly three-quarters of women in their 40s used contraceptives, a rate higher than women in younger age groups. Women in their 20s and 30s were more likely to use LARCs than teenagers or women in their 40s.

Use of contraception in general did not vary significantly across education levels. White and Hispanic women were more likely to use contraception than black women.

“Understanding variation in contraceptive use across social and demographic characteristics offers potential insight into larger fertility patterns, including birth rates and incidence of unintended pregnancies,” the report said.