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Racial differences in Norplant use in the United States


  • Malat, Jennifer


The introduction of the contraceptive implant Norplant has focused attention on how social factors may affect contraceptive use. In the United States, race is a central category of social organization which may impact Norplant use. I use data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth to answer three main questions. (1) Are women of color more likely to use Norplant? (2) To what extent can racial differences in Norplant use be explained by a structural bias in the provision of medical care? (3) To what extent can racial differences in Norplant use be explained by life circumstances which may affect individual women's contraceptive decisions? I find that African American and Native American women are more likely than white or Asian American women to be recent Norplant users. There are no differences in recent use by Hispanic origin. Both a structural bias in the provision of care and differences in life circumstances account for the disparity in Norplant use between African Americans and whites. However, none of the factors examined here explain Native American women's high rate of use. Concerns about health risks for Norplant use are also discussed. These findings point out the importance of examining structural, individual and health status factors in studies of the use of health services.

Suggested Citation

  • Malat, Jennifer, 2000. "Racial differences in Norplant use in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(9), pages 1297-1308, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:9:p:1297-1308

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    Cited by:

    1. Jennifer Barber & Jennifer Yarger & Heather Gatny, 2015. "Black-White Differences in Attitudes Related to Pregnancy Among Young Women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(3), pages 751-786, June.


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