Of the 66.3 million U.S. women of reproductive age, 34.4 million were in need of contraceptive services and supplies in 2004, because they were sexually active and able to become pregnant, but did not wish to become pregnant. In turn, about half of these women–17.4 million–were in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies, an increase of one million women since 2000, according to new Guttmacher Institute data analyzed with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Nationwide, the number of women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services–those who are in need of contraceptive services and supplies and either have incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level or are younger than 20–increased by 6%. Meanwhile, the number of women of reproductive age and the total number of women in need of contraceptive services each rose by only 1%, indicating that the broader economic trends of the period, rather than population growth, drove the change.
Poor and minority women were disproportionately affected by this change. Between 2000 and 2004, the number of poor adult women (with incomes under 100% of poverty) in need of contraceptive services increased by 15%. In contrast, the number who were low income (100–249% of poverty) increased by only 3%, and the number who were higher income (at or above 250% of poverty) declined by 3%. Similarly, the number of women in need who were Hispanic increased by 14%, while the number who were black increased by 4% and the number who were white declined by 2%.
Forty-one states saw an increase between 2000 and 2004 in the number of women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services, while nine states and the District of Columbia experienced a decrease.
For more information on: