National Partnership for Women & Families

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Datapoints: LARC Use Up, Unintended Pregnancies Down

Datapoints: LARC Use Up, Unintended Pregnancies Down

February 26, 2015 — In today's charts, see how use of the most effective birth control methods has grown over the past decade. Plus, find out where each state stands on unintended pregnancy rates.

Latest on LARCs


Use of long-acting reversible contraceptives has risen sharply in the U.S. since the early 2000s, after years of steady rates dating to the late 1980s, according to this graph of new CDC statistics on women ages 15 to 44.

LARCs include intrauterine devices and hormonal implants, and they are more effective at preventing pregnancy than other contraceptive methods, like the pill and the patch.

From the 2006-2010 time period to 2011-2013, LARC use rose among every age and racial group that CDC examined. LARC use increased nearly 10-fold during that time period among women with no previous births, while use among women who had given birth before increased by nearly 70% (NCHS data brief, February 2015).

Providers Prefer LARCs


This Vox chart details a survey that found that LARCs are particularly popular among women's health providers, who identified effective pregnancy prevention as their No. 1 concern when choosing a contraceptive method.

Although LARC use is rising among the general population, birth control pills and condoms remain the most commonly used methods among women who use contraception. However, LARCs were the top method among women's health providers in the survey, with 42% using either an IUD or implant (Vox, 2/23).

Unintended Pregnancy, State by State


Unintended pregnancy rates declined by at least 5% in the majority of states from 2006 to 2010, but 28 states still ended the decade with more than half of all pregnancies being unintended, according to a Guttmacher Institute study that examined such trends from 2002 through 2010.

In 2010, most states' unintended pregnancy rates fell into the range of 41 to 54 per 1,000 women ages 15 through 44. The highest rates were mostly clustered in the South and in densely populated states, Guttmacher found (Guttmacher release, 1/26).