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Thanks, birth control! Accidental pregnancies are dropping

After 30+ years of no change, U.S. rates of unplanned pregnancy are on the decline. (Hurrah!)

Researchers have been tracking the number of accidental pregnancies in the United States since the 1980s. For all that time, the proportion of accidental pregnancies has stayed right around 50%. Until now. New research shows that after decades of little change, rates of accidental pregnancy in the U.S. have gone down.

A few noteworthy stats:

  • From 2008 to 2011, the proportion of all pregnancies in the U.S. that were accidental dropped from 51% to 45%.

  • Accidental pregnancies went down among all groups, but women with low incomes were still more likely than those with higher incomes to have an accidental pregnancy.

  • Younger women (under age 25) and Hispanic women had some of the biggest declines, with their rates of accidental pregnancy dropping by about 25%.

Why did accidental pregnancies drop? Birth control!

This change is most likely due to changes in birth control use, including more folks using IUDs. Since 2011, over 18 million people got health insurance that covers birth control without out-of-pocket costs. So let’s hope this is just the beginning.

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