A report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics shows that the percentage of women in the U.S. using long-term methods of birth control—such as IUDs and implants placed under the skin—has increased significantly in the past few years.
During 2011 to 2013, 7.2 percent of women surveyed from ages 15 to 44 use long-term birth control methods—statistics based on data from 2006 to 2010 show the previous rate to be 3.8 percent, meaning the number of women who are opting for long-term birth control has close to doubled. Its use appears to be most popular among women ages 25 to 34—approximately 11 percent of women in this age group used long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).
In total, 62 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 to 44 reported using some form of birth control. As expected, the most common form of birth control is the pill (with 16 percent of women choosing this method; 25 percent of women ages 15 to 24 use the pill). Somewhat surprisingly, however, female sterilization was the second most popular method, with 15.5 percent of women going this route. When divided up into smaller age groups, the study found that almost 1 in 3 women between ages 35 to 44 chose sterilization; only 1 percent of women ages 15 to 24 opted for it. Also common are male condoms, coming in at 9.4 percent.
Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that the statistics on female sterilization are not as surprising as they seem. “Consider the fact that the majority of women in this country have had the number of children they want to have by mid-twenties to thirty or so—and they still have the capacity to get pregnant until they are 50 years old,” she explained to Time, adding that she expects the number to decline in upcoming years as LARCs become more popular and affordable.
What do these statistics say about modern women? Are we more conscious of our sexual health? Does this show that previous, more traditional priorities have shifted from the home to women's careers? Let us know what you think, collegiettes!