Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2013 Update


Lori F. Frohwirth

Women between the ages of 13 and 44 who are sexually active and able to become pregnant, but do not wish to become pregnant, are in need of contraceptive services and supplies. Those who are poor or low-income, as well as teenagers, may need subsidized care. This report and summary tables present data on the current status of contraceptive needs and services in the United States as a whole, for the 10 federal regions and for each state and county. The data also include the impact that these services have on reducing unintended pregnancy and the public cost savings generated from the provision of publicly funded contraceptive care. To build custom tables for counties in your state using 2010 and 2013 data, visit Guttmacher's Data Center.


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Key Points

Key Points

• In 2013, 20.1 million U.S. women were in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies because they were sexually active, physically able to conceive and not currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and were either adults with an income under 250% of the federal poverty level or were younger than 20; of those, 5.6 million (28%) had neither public nor private health insurance.

• The number of women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies grew steadily between 2000 and 2010—an increase of 17% over the decade; by 2013, the number had increased by another 5%, or 918,000 additional women in need. n Growth in need has been driven entirely by an increase in the proportion of adult women who are poor or low-income; the overall number of women of reproductive age has remained stable, and the number of teens in need has declined. n Between 2010 and 2013, the numbers of adult women in need with a family income under 100% or between 100% and 250% of poverty increased 13% and 4%, respectively; the number of Hispanic women in need increased 7% over the period.

• Publicly funded providers met an estimated 42% of the need for publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies in 2013, down from 47% in 2010; this drop in the proportion of need met by publicly funded providers was due to both the rising number of women in need and the falling number of clients served by these providers.

• In 2013, publicly funded family planning services helped women prevent two million unintended pregnancies; of those, one million would have resulted in an unplanned birth and 693,000 in an abortion. Without publicly funded family planning services, the U.S. rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion each would have been 60% higher.

• Family planning clinics that receive funding through the federal Title X program met 21% of the need for publicly funded contraceptive care in 2013.Services provided by these clinics helped women avert one million unintended pregnancies in 2013, which prevented 501,000 unplanned births and 345,000 abortions. Without the services provided by these clinics, the U.S. unintended pregnancy rate would have been 30% higher.


This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under grant FPRPA006017.

This report is part of a series of studies on the need for and impact of U.S. publicly funded family planning services.