IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Linking Changes in Contraceptive Use to Declines in Teen Pregnancy Rates


  • Jennifer Manlove

    () (Reproductive Health & Family Formation, Child Trends, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA)

  • Quentin Karpilow

    () (Reproductive Health & Family Formation, Child Trends, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA)

  • Kate Welti

    () (Reproductive Health & Family Formation, Child Trends, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA)

  • Adam Thomas

    () (Reproductive Health & Family Formation, Child Trends, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
    McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA)


Using a unique microsimulation tool, Teen FamilyScape, the present study explores how changes in the mix of contraceptive methods used by teens contributed to the decline in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate between 2002 and 2010. Results indicate that changes in contraceptive use contributed to approximately half of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate during this time period (48%) and that a little more than half of this “contraceptive effect” was due to an increase in teen condom use (58%). The remaining share of the contraceptive effect can be attributed to an increase in the use of more effective hormonal (pill, patch, ring) and long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC)/injectable methods (Intrauterine Devices (IUD), implant and injectable). Results from an additional counterfactual analysis suggest that the contraceptive effect was driven by the fact that the percentage of teens using no birth control fell during the study time period, rather than by the fact that some teens switched from less effective methods (condoms) to more effective hormonal and LARC/injectable methods. However, very high typical use failure rates for teen condom users suggest the need for a two-pronged approach for continuing reductions in teen pregnancy for sexually active teens: first, targeting the youth most at risk of not using contraception and helping them choose contraception, and second, increasing the effectiveness of method use among existing contraceptors.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Manlove & Quentin Karpilow & Kate Welti & Adam Thomas, 2015. "Linking Changes in Contraceptive Use to Declines in Teen Pregnancy Rates," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-14, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:6:y:2015:i:1:p:1-:d:61259

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2006.089169_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Melissa Schettini Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2012. "Explaining Recent Trends in the U.S. Teen Birth Rate," NBER Working Papers 17964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:mpr:mprres:8056 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Brian Goesling & Silvie Colman & Christopher Trenholm & Mary Terzian & Kristin Moore, 2014. "Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Associated Sexual Risk Behaviors: A Systematic Review," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 79abd8a5ae924d15a82e0ee44, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Krystale Littlejohn, 2012. "Hormonal Contraceptive Use and Discontinuation Because of Dissatisfaction: Differences by Race and Education," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(4), pages 1433-1452, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    teen pregnancy; contraceptive methods; historical trends;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:6:y:2015:i:1:p:1-:d:61259. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.