QuickStats: Percentage of Women Aged 22–44 Years Who Have Ever Cohabited with an Opposite-Sex Partner by Education

January 15, 2021

Among women aged 22–44 years, during 2015–2019, 67.3% had ever cohabited with an opposite-sex partner compared with 62.5% during 2006–2010.

Among women with a high school diploma, GED, or less education, the percentages of those who had ever cohabited with an opposite-sex partner were similar (72.6%) across the two periods; the percentage of women with some college or higher education who had ever cohabited was higher for 2015–2019 (64.8%) than for 2006–2010 (56.0%).

In both periods, women with a high school diploma, GED, or less education were more likely to have ever cohabited with an opposite-sex partner than were women with some college or higher education.

Source: National Survey of Family Growth, 2006–2010 and 2015–2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/index.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7002a5.htm


Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2017–2019

October 20, 2020

Questions for Kim Daniels, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2017–2019.”

Q: Why does the CDC collect information on contraceptive use? 

KD: Collecting information on contraceptive use from women and men of reproductive age helps inform our understanding of variation in use across groups such as by age and education.  Information on contraceptive use offers potential insight into larger fertility patterns, including birth rates and incidence of unintended pregnancies. The chance that a woman not seeking a pregnancy will have an unintended pregnancy varies by whether any method of contraception is used and which method or methods she and her partner use.


Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

KD: This report provides a snapshot of current contraceptive status among women ages 15-49 based on data from the 2017-2019 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  It describes contraceptive use and non-use during the month of interview and includes further detail on specific methods being used and reasons for non-use of contraception.  Differences in the most common methods currently used (female sterilization, oral contraceptive pill, long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), and the male condom) are shown by age, Hispanic origin and race, and education.

It may not count as surprising, but some of the overall percentages for specific types of methods being used are interesting.  If you look at contraceptive status among all women (shown in Figure 2), 18.1% of all women aged 15-49 are relying on female sterilization, 14.0% on the oral contraceptive pill, 10.4% on LARCs, and 8.4% on male condoms.  Taken together that accounts for about half of women in this age range (about 37 million of the 72.7 million women aged 15-49).

Some of the differences in current contraceptive use, by age, Hispanic origin and race, and education may be surprising.  For example, there are differences by education in the use of female sterilization, the oral contraceptive pill, and LARCs, but there are no statistically significant differences seen by education in the use of male condoms, as reported by women.


Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

KD: This report is based on data from the 6,141 women in the female respondent file of the 2017-2019 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  The NSFG is a nationally representative sample of women and men ages 15-49 conducted using in-person interviews.  The 2017-2019 NSFG public-use data files are being released on the same day as this report.  Information about the survey, including how data were collected, as well as the downloadable data files and documentation, are available on the NSFG website here:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/index.htm


Q: Is there any trend data for this report?

KD: This report does not include any information about trends in contraceptive use.  However, since it is an update of a report published in 2018 using NSFG data from 2015-2017, comparisons can be made between the estimates in this report and those from the 2018 report.  The 2018 report using 2015-2017 NSFG data is available on the NCHS webpage here:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db327-h.pdf


Q: Where can I find more NSFG data?

KD: All NSFG data files, including the 2017-2019 public-use files, released on the same day as this report’s publication, are available to download from the NSFG website here:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/index.htm

The NSFG website also includes information about the survey, including how data were collected, as well as documentation about the survey methodology and how to analyze the data. Also on our website are reports published from data files released prior to this, which show statistics for contraceptive use and many other topics included in the NSFG.

Those previously published NSFG reports are available on this page:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/nsfg_products.htm

This report is the first to be released with this data from 2017-2019.


Trends and Patterns in Menarche in the United States: 1995 through 2013-2017

September 10, 2020

Questions for Gladys Martinez, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Trends and Patterns in Menarche in the United States: 1995 through 2013-2017.”

Q: Can you explain what menarche is?

GM: Menarche refers to the first menstrual period.


Q: Why did you decide to do a report on this topic?

GM: We decided to do a report on this topic because menarche is a biological milestone of the start of the period in which women can potentially get pregnant and because early menarche is associated with greater risk of health problems such as breast cancer, liver disease, etc.


Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

GM: Data for this report came from a national sample of U.S. women aged 15-44 who were interviewed in person in 2013-2017.


Q: Is this the first report on age of first menstrual period?  Is there any trend data that goes back further than 1995?

GM:

This is the first report on age at menarche. We do not have published data before 1995, however there is data available on the mean age of menarche in previous National Survey of Family Growth reports. This is the first full report on age at menarche and the first to use this methodology to look at the probability of age at menarche by each age


Q: What is the take home message for this report?

GM: Age at menarche has decreased in the U.S. since 1995.  A higher proportion of young girls are experiencing menarche now than in earlier time periods.  Girls from higher socioeconomic status and those that lived with both parents by age 14 were less likely to experience menarche at an early age.  On average, the older the age at menarche, the older her age at first sexual intercourse.


Fact or Fiction – Is the average age at first menstrual period for American women is 12 years old?

September 10, 2020

Source: National Survey of Family Growth

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr146-508.pdf


Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers Aged 15-19 in the United States, 2015-2017

May 6, 2020

Questions for Gladys Martinez, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers Aged 15-19 in the United States, 2015-2017.”

Q: Why does NCHS conduct studies on sexual activity and contraception?

GM: We conduct studies on sexual activity and contraceptive use to better understand the risk for sexually transmitted diseases, birth and pregnancy rates, and differences between groups in the U.S. reproductive age population.

For this report they are crucial for understanding differences in the risk of teen pregnancy and to put into context recent declines in the U.S. teen birth rate.


Q: Can you summarize how the data varied by sex and age groups?

GM: There has been a decline in the percentage of male and female teens who ever had sex from 1988 to 2017.  But the percentage of male teens who ever had sex continues to decline in most recent time period 2011-2015 to 2015-2017, but has remained the same for female teens.

Male and female had similar:

  • cumulative probabilities of having had sex at each age in their teen years
  • relationship between age at first sex and contraceptive use: teens with younger ages at first sexual intercourse were less likely to use a method of contraception

Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

GM: For the first time since we have been collecting these data, the cumulative probabilities of having had sex by each age in the teen years were similar for young males and females.

Ever use of implant is 15% which is an increase from 2011-2015 when it was only 3%.


Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

GM: Data for this report are from the 2015-2017 National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative in-person survey of men and women aged 15-49 in the United States.


Q: Do you have older data that is comparable beyond 2002?

GM: Yes, we have been tracking these data since the 1970s and the earliest published NSFG report shows data from 1988.


Demographic, Health Care, and Fertility-Related Characteristics of Adults Aged 18-44 Who Have Ever Been in Foster Care: United States, 2011-2017

January 22, 2020

Questions for Colleen Nugent, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Demographic, Health Care, and Fertility-Related Characteristics of Adults Aged 18-44 Who Have Ever Been in Foster Care: United States, 2011-2017,”

Q: Why did you decide to do a report on adults who have ever been in foster care?

CN: The National Survey of Family Growth is one of the few U.S. nationally representative surveys that collects information on having ever been in foster care during childhood from adult respondents across the full reproductive age span.  Combining that with other content specific to the NSFG provides a rare opportunity to get nationally representative estimates on how outcomes related to health service access and use and fertility related milestones might differ between those who had ever been in foster care and those who had not.


Q: How did the data vary by adults who have ever been in foster care?

CN: Women and men who had been in foster care had lower levels of educational attainment, had higher percentages receiving public assistance in the past year, and were less likely to be currently working or attending school than adults who had never been in foster care.  Those who had been in foster care were less likely to have private health insurance, were more likely to experience time without health insurance in the past year, and were less likely to use a private doctor’s office as their usual place of care.  Adults ever in foster care also had higher probabilities of first sexual intercourse and first births at younger ages than those never in foster care.


Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you?

CN: Although those who had never been in foster care were more likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher than those who had ever been in foster care, the rates of those completing some college were actually more similar for both groups.


Q: What were some of the limitations when interpreting the data?

CN: There are several limitations.  One is that we didn’t have information on what ages respondents were in foster care, how long ago they exited, and what types of foster care settings they were in—whether those were relative or nonrelative family foster homes, group homes, or institutional settings. Differences in outcomes could vary by the timing of foster care in a child’s development, and also by the type of foster care setting.  Another is that these analyses are bivariate and cross-sectional and cannot be used to assess causation. This means that outcomes may not be due solely to foster care itself and may be linked with characteristics of those entering foster care that preceded their experience in the system.


Q: Will you have an update to this report in the future?

CN: The number of respondents who have ever been in foster care is relatively small in our survey and we needed to combine data over several file releases to be able to produce reliable estimates. If we update this report in the future, it will require waiting for several more data releases that we can combine to have a large enough sample of respondents ever in foster care.


Receipt of Pelvic Examinations Among Women Aged 15–44 in the United States, 1988–2017

June 26, 2019

Using National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) data through 2017 for women aged 15–44, a new NCHS report describes trends overall and by age since 1988 in the receipt of pelvic examinations in the past year, and differences by Hispanic origin and race, education, poverty status, and health insurance status for 2015–2017.

Key Findings:

  • A decreasing trend in the receipt of pelvic examinations in the past 12 months among women aged 15–44 was observed from 1988 through 2017.
  • A decreasing trend in the receipt of pelvic examinations among women aged 15–20 and 21–29 was observed from 1988 through 2017.
  • During 2015–2017, receipt of a pelvic examination in the last 12 months was highest among non-Hispanic black women, followed by non-Hispanic white women and Hispanic women.
  • During 2015–2017, receipt of a pelvic examination in the past 12 months increased with increasing levels of education.

Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2015–2017

December 19, 2018

Using data from the 2015–2017 National Survey of Family Growth, a new NCHS report provides a snapshot of current contraceptive status, in the month of interview, among women aged 15–49 in the United States.

In addition to describing use of any method by age, Hispanic origin and race, and education, patterns of use are described for the four most commonly used contraceptive methods: female sterilization; oral contraceptive pill; long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), which include contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices; and male condom.

Key Findings:

  • In 2015–2017, 64.9% of the 72.2 million women aged 15–49 in the United States were currently using contraception. The most common contraceptive methods currently used were female sterilization (18.6%), oral contraceptive pill (12.6%), long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) (10.3%), and male condom (8.7%).
  • Use of LARCs was higher among women aged 20–29 (13.1%) compared with women aged 15–19 (8.2%) and 40–49 (6.7%); use was also higher among women aged 30–39 (11.7%) compared with those aged 40–49.
  • Current condom use did not differ among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women (about 7%–10%).
  • Female sterilization declined and use of the pill increased with higher education. Use of LARCs did not differ across education (about 10%–12%).

Adoption-related Behaviors Among Women Aged 18–44 in the United States: 2011–2015

July 19, 2018

Questions for Lead Author Chinagozi Ugwu, Statistician and Author of “Adoption-related Behaviors Among Women Aged 18–44 in the United States: 2011–2015

Q: Why did you decide to focus on adoption-related behaviors in the United States?

CU: Adoption is one way people build their families, and this report provides some basic statistics on adoption in the United States. The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) is one of few sources of nationally representative data on adoption and adoption seeking among adult women in the U.S.


Q: How did the findings vary by age groups?

CU: This report documented some differences by age groups in adoption-related behaviors. Women in the oldest age category (35-44 years) were more likely to be seeking to adopt than women of younger ages, and were also more likely to have ever adopted.

Approximately 1.5% of women aged 35-44 in 2011-2015 were currently seeking to adopt, followed by 1.4% of women aged 25-34 and 0.6% of women aged 18-24. The percentage of women who had ever adopted a child increased with increasing age (0.1%, aged 18–24; 0.5%, aged 25–34; 1.3%, aged 35–44).


Q: Were there any major changes in adoption-related behaviors from previous years?

CU: In this report, we did not study trends in these adoption-related behaviors.  We focused more on providing a snapshot of the demographic characteristics of U.S. adult women who had engaged in these three adoption-related behaviors: ever considered adoption, currently seeking to adopt, and ever adopted a child.


Q: Do you have data for adoption-related behavior data on women older than age 44?

CU: The NSFG data used for this report reflect survey years when the age range extended only to age 44.  Beginning in 2015, the NSFG expanded its age range to 15-49, so future analyses can include adults 18-49.  The public use files for 2015-2017, which will reflect the expanded age range of 15-49 are expected to be released later this year.


Q: What is the take home message in this report?

CU: While the percentages of adult women aged 18-44 with adoption-related experience are relatively low, this report documents key variations by demographic characteristics, including age and current fertility problems. More women with fertility problems than those without had ever considered adopting or were currently seeking to adopt a child. Higher percentages of women in the oldest age (35-44 years) category were currently seeking to adopt or had ever adopted, than women in the youngest age (18-24 years) category.


Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15–44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2011–2015

July 11, 2018

Questions for Gladys Martinez, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15–44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2011–2015

Q: Why did you decide to examine fertility measures in the United States?

GM: This report provides basic information about four fertility measures for the nation using data from the 2011-2015 National Survey of Family Growth for women and men aged 15-44: percentage of men and women who have ever had a biological child, how many children they have, the timing of first births, and birth spacing. Differences are shown by age, marital or cohabiting status, education, income, and Hispanic origin and race.


Q: How did the rates estimates vary by gender for women and men?

GM: Some comparisons of the fertility estimates in this report are made for women and men, but these differences were not the focus of the report. Some differences for women and men include the percentage who have ever had a child. By age 40-44, 85.0% of women and 80.4% of men have ever had a child. Among women and men who have ever had a child, the average age at first birth was 23.1 for women and 25.5 for men, similar to the estimates from 2006-2010. The average number of births was 1.2 for women and 0.9 for men.


Q: How did the rates estimates vary by Hispanic origin and race?

GM: Some differences by Hispanic origin and race that are shown in the report include that non-Hispanic Asian women had the highest mean age at first birth (26.7) across all groups shown (24.1 for non-Hispanic white women, and 21.5 for Hispanic women and 21.2 for non-Hispanic black women ). The probability of having a first birth before age 20 was highest for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women (28%) and lowest for non-Hispanic Asian women (4%).


Q: How did the estimates vary by educational level?

GM: Some differences by educational attainment included that women and men with lower levels of education were more like to have had a birth, to have had more children, and have had their first child at a younger age. For example, among women aged 22-44 who have ever had a child, 53.9% of women with less than a high school education had their first birth before age 20. This percentage for women with a Bachelor’s degree or higher was 5.5%. In this report, education was measured at the time of interview, not at the time of the child’s birth. Differences by education are shown for women and men aged 22-44 since many of those ages 15-21 have not completed their education.


Q: Were there any major changes in the fertility estimates from previous years?

GM: In this report some comparisons of the overall estimates for the percentage of men and women who have ever had a biological child, how many children they have, the timing of first births, and birth spacing for 2011-2015 are made with 2006-2010. Most estimates were similar across the two time points. One difference was that the average number of children born to women decreased from 1.3 in 2006-2010 to 1.2 in 2011-2015 .