Objective: This report presents national estimates of contraceptive use and method choice based on the 1982, 1995, and 2002 National Surveys of Family Growth (NSFG). It also presents data on where women obtained family planning and medical services, and some of the services that they received.
Methods: Data were collected through in-person interviews with 12,571 men and women 15-44 years of age in the civilian noninstitutional population of the United States in 2002. This report is based on the sample of 7,643 women interviewed in 2002. The response rate for women in the study was about 80 percent.
Results: The leading method of contraception in the United States in 2002 was the oral contraceptive pill, used by 11.6 million women; the second leading method was female sterilization, used by 10.3 million women. The condom was the third-leading method, used by about 9 million women and their partners. The condom is the leading method at first intercourse; the pill is the leading method among women under 30; and female sterilization is the leading method among women 35 and older. More than 98 percent of women 15-44 years of age who have ever had sexual intercourse with a male (referred to as "sexually experienced women") have used at least one contraceptive method. Over the 20 years from 1982 to 2002, the percent who had ever had a partner who used the male condom increased from 52 to 90 percent. The proportion who had ever had a partner who used withdrawal increased from 25 percent in 1982 to 56 percent in 2002. Another important measure of contraceptive use is use at the first premarital intercourse: before 1980, only 43 percent of women (or their partner) used a method of birth control at their first premarital intercourse. By 1999-2002, the proportion using a method at first premarital intercourse had risen to 79 percent.