Eighteen Percent Decrease in Rate of Unintended Pregnancies in U.S.

Those below federal poverty level or cohabiting had two to three times the national average
Those below federal poverty level or cohabiting had two to three times the national average

HealthDay News — The rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States decreased from 2008 to 2011, according to research published in the March 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lawrence B. Finer, PhD, and Mia R. Zolna, MPH, from the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, used national data to calculate pregnancy rates for 2008 to 2011 according to pregnancy intentions, and examined the outcomes of these pregnancies.

The researchers found that in 2011, 45% of pregnancies were unintended, compared with 51% in 2008. Among women and girls aged 15 to 44 years, the rate of unintended pregnancy decreased by 18% from 2008 to 2011, from 54 to 45 per 1,000. For those who were below the federal poverty level or cohabiting, the rates of unintended pregnancy were two to three times the national average. Racial disparities in the rate of unintended pregnancy persisted across population subgroups, but narrowed between 2008 and 2011. During the study period, the percentage of unintended pregnancies that ended in abortion remained stable (40 percent in 2008 and 42% in 2011). During the study period, the rate of unintended pregnancies that ended in birth decreased from 27 to 22 per 1,000.

"Our findings show a substantial decline in the rate of unintended pregnancy in the United States between 2008 and 2011, to a historic low," the authors write.

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