Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing of Teenagers Aged 15–19 in the United States

Monitoring sexual activity and contraceptive use among U.S. adolescents is important for understanding differences in their risk of pregnancy. In 2013, the U.S. birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 dropped 57% from its peak in 1991, paralleling a decline in the teen pregnancy rate. But these rates are still higher than those in other developed countries.

Using data from the 1988 to 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth, this report provides trends and recent national estimates of sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing among teenagers aged 15–19.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2011–2013, 44% of female teenagers and 47% of male teenagers aged 15–19 had experienced sexual intercourse; the percentage has declined significantly, by 14% for female and 22% for male teenagers, over the past 25 years.
  • In the early teen years males were more likely than females to have had sexual intercourse. But the percentage of older teenagers who had sexual intercourse was similar for female and male teenagers.
  • In 2011–2013, 79% of female teenagers and 84% of male teenagers used a contraceptive method at first sexual intercourse.
  • The condom remained the most common contraceptive method used among teenagers.
  • Young women who did not use a method of contraception at first sexual intercourse were twice as likely to become teen mothers as those who used a method.

 

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