Unintended Pregnancy Rates Rise Among 20-24 Year Old Women: A Statement from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Aug 24 2011

(Washington, DC) -- After remaining essentially flat from 1994 through 2001, the overall unintended pregnancy rate in the United States increased between 2001 and 2006. New data released today by the Guttmacher Institute indicate that the rates of unintended pregnancy increased slightly from 50 to 52 per 1,000 women and the overall unintended birth rate also increased, from 23 to 25 per 1,000 women. Most important to note, however, is that the jump in the rate of unintended pregnancy was highest among 20-24 year-olds, increasing from 101 to 107 per 1,000 women.

In response to the new data, Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, released the following statement:

"This report is a blockbuster reminder that unplanned pregnancy is not just a 'teen' issue," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "Young adults -- women in their early 20's -- are reporting unplanned pregnancies at record levels and it is time to include them as a major focus of prevention efforts. Eighty percent of single, young adult women say that it's very important to them to avoid pregnancy right now, but their behavior does not match their professed views, as these new data clearly show.

"The National Campaign has long believed in the importance of engaging twenty-somethings in the critical issues of pregnancy planning and prevention, and the particular need to link intentions (not getting pregnant) to the behavior that helps achieve that goal -- namely, the careful and consistent use of the best contraceptive methods available. One strategy that The National Campaign offers to help young women move in this sensible direction is our new birth control support network, Bedsider.org, which will be formally launched in November, 2011."

Some additional information from the Guttmacher report:

  • Overall changes from 2001 to 2006:
    • The overall unintended BIRTH rate (that is, births that result from an unintended pregnancy) also increased during this period, from 23 to 25 per 1,000 women, reflecting not only the fact that there were more unintended pregnancies, but also that fewer of them ended in abortion.
  • Changes between 2001 and 2006 varied a lot by demographic group:
    • By marital status, the rate of unintended pregnancy is highest and rising fastest among cohabiting women -- increasing from 126 to 152 per 1,000 women.
    • By socioeconomic status, the rate of unintended pregnancy is highest and rising fastest among those with less education and less income.

Download the full report here.

Download a PDF of this release.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy as well as unplanned pregnancy, especially among single young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve. Please visit http://www.TheNationalCampaign.org to find out more.

Supporting Materials

A group of teenage girls