(HealthDay News) – The proportion of unintended births in the United States has remained unchanged from 1982, and was about 37% in 2006–2010.

William D Mosher, PhD, from the Division of Vital Statistics at the NCHS in Hyattsville, MD, and colleagues used data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth, including in-person interviews with 12,279 women aged 15–44 years, to report trends in unintended pregnancies. Trends were compared with those from surveys conducted in 1982, 1988, 1995, and 2002.

The researchers found that, at the time of conception, approximately 37% of births in the United States were unintended, with no significant decrease seen in the overall proportion since 1982. Between 1982 and 2006–2010 there was a significant decrease in the proportion of unintended births to married, non-Hispanic white women. However, there was an increase in the proportion of all births occurring to unmarried women, from 18% in 1980 to 41% in 2009. The percentage of unintended births differed widely between groups; unintended births were much more likely among unmarried, black women and women with less education or income than among married, white, college-educated, and high-income women. Births to married women were more likely to be intended than births to unmarried women, as were births to women aged 25–44 compared to younger women.

“Despite a decrease in unintended births to ever-married non-Hispanic white women, the growing proportion of births to unmarried women, most of which were unintended, has kept the overall proportion of unintended births approximately constant,” the authors write.

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